From: Carlton Winbery (email@example.com)
Date: Tue Feb 13 2001 - 23:30:33 EST
Iver Larsen wrote;
>> Dear Bgreekers,
>> on the thread on the translation of James 2:24, 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
>I agree with you that this is an important issue. I was surprised that
>and Carlton suggested that the negative particle would govern an implied
>was also surprised that Alan interpreted James 2:24 as if the text talked
>two quite separate "justifications", whereas I would agree with Moon. James is
>discussing "faith alone" as opposed to "faith proven by action/works" and this
>is indicated by the use of the negative particle and the word order.
>> The contrast implied in James 2:24 can be visible by the following
>> It is by works, not by faith alone that man is justified.
>> In summary, I think the following statement of yours should be considered
>> an empirical statement rather than a linguistic principle.
>> "I find that most of the time in the NT OU(K) negates the verb."
>The last statement is correct, but it offers us no help in understanding the
>issue at hand. A rough count of times in the GNT when the negative particle
>governs the verb showed me about 2000 times. It was a bit difficult to
>many times the negative governs something else, rather than the verb. A very
>rough estimate is 100-300. Someone with more sophisticated search
>more time could find a more accurate figure.
>However, Moon has given several examples from English of the need to look at
>which part of the clause the negative governs. In most cases it is a matter of
>CONTRASTING different possible subjects or objects in the clause. Let me add a
>few examples from the GNT, starting from Matthew:
>Matt 4:4 OUK EP' ARTWi MONWi ZHSETAI hO ANWRWPOS, ALL' EPI PANTI hRHMATI...
>"bread" - physical food - is contrasted with "every word" - spiritual
>only food, but words are we to "eat". It is not a matter of "eating" or "not
>eating", but what you eat.
This example surely shows that we are talking by each other. I certainly
looks that Matt 4:4 is a good example that shows that OUK negates ZHSETAI
rather than EP' ARTWi. "A man does not live by bread alone but (he lives)
by every word . ." This kind of ellipses is common in the NT.
>Mat 7:21 OU PAS hO LEGWN MOI KURIE KURIE ...ALLA hO POIWN TO QELHMA TOU PATROS
You left out the verb here. The whole sentence reads OU PAS hO LEGWN MOI
KURIE, KURIE, EISELEUSETAI EIS THN BASILEIAN TWN OURANWN, ALL' hO POIWN TO
QELHMA TOU PATROS MOU TOU EN TOIS OURANOIS.
Again, this seems to me to be another case where the negative negates the
verb EISELEUSETAI. It is common word order for the negative to come before
the subject of the verb and still negate the verb. Yes, this still contrast
the ideas, but the contrast comes by comparing the entire assertions not
just the two subjects. "Everyone who says to me Lord, Lord will not enter
into the Kingdom, but everyone who does the will of my Father in Heaven
will." Off course we are both struggling to put into English what the Greek
says to us, but the statement above seems to me to give the right emphasis
to the contrast.
>Here two potential subjects for "entering the Kingdom of God" are contrasted.
>Not all who say Lord, but those who do the will of God.
>Mat 9:13 ELEOS QELW, KAI OU QUSIAN. OU GAR HLQON KALESAI DIKAIOUS ALLA
>In the first part, the two objects for what God wants are contrasted:
>sacrifice" or "mercy". It is true, of course, that the word QELW is implied in
>the second part, so a full form would be ELEOS QELW, KAI OU QUSIAN QELW "I
>mercy, and I do not want sacrifice." (A Hebrew way of saying: I would rather
>have one than the other.)
>The focus in the Greek (confer word order) is on the contrast, and to show
>clearly in English we would have to change it to something like "It is mercy
>that I want and not sacrifice."
"I desire mercy, I do not desire sacrifice. For I did not come to call
(the) righteous but sinners." I see no reason here not to emphasize the
negation ot the predicate. It gets at the Greek much better.
>The second part also has a negative. In this case the negative occurs
>main verb, and since the main verb is the nucleus of the clause, it is the
>clause that is negated and contrasted with another potential clause. A
>of the second sentence would be:
>OU GAR HLQON KALESAI DIKAIOUS ALLA HLQON KALESAI hAMARTWLOUS "For I did
>to call righteous people, but I came to call sinful people." Although
>there is a
>contrast between righteous and sinners, the focus is on the coming of Jesus -
>for what purpose did he come. Again, an understanding of the function of word
>order in Greek is crucial for a clear understanding of the focus and
>Matt 12:29 EAN MH PRWTON DHSHi TON ISCURON "if he does not first bind the
Not indicative thus beside the point.
None of the other examples seem to me to prove your point. Again, I would
assert that the normal way of dealing with the negative in indicative
statements is to see the verb or the predicate as negated. The emphasis
seems to me to be much more evident when explained this way. I will not
respond to any more of these posts unless I see additional evidence rather
than a restatement of the same points. Again, I find English examples not
very helpful and they can even be obstacles to comprehending the Greek in
its own context.
Carlton L. Winbery
Fogleman Prof. of Religion
Louisiana College Box 612
Pineville, LA 71359
Phones 318 487 7241, Home 318 448 6103
B-Greek home page: http://metalab.unc.edu/bgreek
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