[b-greek] Re: Negation

From: Carl W. Conrad (cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu)
Date: Tue Feb 13 2001 - 17:37:15 EST

At 7:05 PM +0000 2/13/01, Keith Thompson wrote:
> Thanks for your replies, but it isn't much clearer to me. The books
>David McKay suggested might be helpful, but unfortunately I can't buy
>any more at the moment.
> The same thing seems to be confusing people in James 2:24, Moon-Ryul
>Jung wrote '...the general issue of what OU negates in a given sentence,
>the verb or other parts arose. I think this is an important issue. I
>hope that the issue can get some attention.'
> Also Carl W. Conrad wrote 'And I wonder whether some of the difficulty
>here doesn't derive from thinking in terms of English usage rather than
>Greek usage, or assuming that they must be identical.'
> This is exactly what I want to know. I didn't have any problem with
>negation, even in Philippians 2:6 until I read this verse in the New
>World Translation. I realise that hARPAGMOS can be translated as 'the
>act of seizing' or 'a thing seized', changing the meaning of the verse,
>but this isn't what I'm asking about. In the NWT here it's translated as
>'a seizure' meaning 'to grasp at something not rightfully his'.
> Dennis Hukel wrote 'Since, as you noticed, the OUC comes before the
>noun rather than the verb, this emphatically marks the noun as not

I frankly don't know what that means in this case, to say that the noun is
not true. And I remain pretty much convinced that the negation governs the
entire predicate. It should be noted that the construction here involves a
verb of equating (in thought: hHGEOMAI) with an object (TO ISA EINAI QEWi)
and a predicate word--here a predicate noun, which normally DOES precede a
copula or an equative verb in a construction such as this.

> Yet Carl W. Conrad wrote 'the OUC here, although before the noun
>hARPAGMON, actually negates the verb hHGHSATO -- although I might be
>willing to accept the view that it negates the whole clause.' If it
>negates the verb rather than the noun does this change the meaning of
>the verse?
> People seem to agree that whether the OUC negates only the noun, or the
>whole clause that follows the meaning is the same: Jesus 'thought it not
>robbery to be equal with God'. The entire verse in the NWT reads, 'who,
>although he was existing in God's form, gave no consideration to a
>seizure, namely, that he should be equal to God.' This to me seems to be
>saying exactly the opposite, that Jesus 'thought it robbery to be equal
>with God' and did not even consider it!
> Is there anything in 'Greek Grammar Beyond The Basics' about negation
>in general and how it is used in Greek? (Also is the 'aporetic
>nominative' a real category or just a joke?!?)

The problems with this whole passage are immense, in fact, and we have
discussed them practically ad nauseam over the years. I'll dig out the
details of where the discussions are in the archives. There's also a
relatively short book of essays on the alternative views of this
exceedingly complex and controversial passage.


Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649
WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/

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