[b-greek] Re: Negation

From: Carl W. Conrad (cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu)
Date: Thu Feb 15 2001 - 20:35:14 EST

At 9:34 PM +0000 2/15/01, Keith Thompson wrote:
> Again thank you all for responding to my question about negation in
>Greek. The NWT translation of Philippians 2:6 made me realise that
>negation is not as simple as I supposed. For it to work I thought that
>the verb was negated, even though the negative particle comes before the
>noun. People seem to agree that the verb can be negated when OU/MH comes
>before another word, in fact OU/MH normally negates the verb. But if it
>is a verb of thinking or being isn't negating it the same as negating
>the whole clause? (Which in this case is the same as negating only the
>noun.) My grammars don't seem to say anything about negation, so far I
>just use logic and common sense but I definitely need to know more about
>it. (By the way is the phrase 'in this case' used on B-Greek? It seems
>it might cause confusion!)
> I should not have asked 'is this translation possible?', but rather,
>'how does the grammar allow this translation?'. Looking closer, it seems
>it depends less on what is being negated and more on whether 'TO EINAI
>ISA QEWi' is an appositional infinitive defining the robbery. Even
>though I am asking about negation in general, there were many questions
>I had about the 'Christ-Hymn' which I dismissed as too theological to
>ask here. Thank you Carl for the links to past discussions, as usual
>I'll probably have all my questions answered without having to ask.

Far more likely you'll find questions you hadn't even thought of yet rather
than all the answers you want, and you certainly won't find any clear
consensus of viewpoint.

As for the syntax of the text,


I'd understand the the articular infinitive (TO EINAI ISA QEWi) not as an
appositive but as the subject of an implicit subordinate clause with an
implicit infinitive EINAI and hARPAGMON as a predicate noun, so that the
structure looks something like this:


with the sense in English: " ... didn't deem 'being on a par with God' (to
be) a 'big deal.'"

Note that I'm taking hARPAGMOS here in the sense "a piece of good fortune,
windfall, prize, gain" = hERMAION ("lucky find") which is the second (b) of
two suggested senses in BDAG, the first being (a) "booty"--something
seized. Danker there notes: "again it remains an open question whether the
windfall has already been seized and is waiting to be used, or whether it
has not yet been appropriated. In favor of the former is the contrast
between Adam (implied as a dramatic foil) and his anxiety about death and
equality with god and Jesus' majestic freedom from such anxiety, with
culmination in the ultimate vindication of Jesus, whose destiny contrasts
with Adam's implied fate: OUC hARPAGMON hHGHSATO TO EINAI ISA QEWi 'did not
consider equality with God a prize to be tenaciously grasped.'"

It should be noted that hARPAGMOS is a "hapax legomenon" and the above
interpretatations depend upon the view that hARPAGMOS (a masculine verbal
noun) is equivalent in meaning to hARPAGMA which is more commonly attested
in Hellenistic literature in that sense of "prize," or "lucky find."

But this problem is the "tip of the iceberg" associated with this very
complex and 'treacherous' passage--and that is the reason that I earlier
suggested you might do well to consult our older archives as well as the
volume I cited previously, Ralph P. Martin & Brian J. Dodd (eds.), _Where
Christology Began: Essays on Philippians 2_ (Louisville: Westminster John
Knox Press, 1998), which itself is a follow-up to an earlier book by Ralph
P. Martin entitled _Carmen Christi_ and devoted wholly to discussion of
this very complex 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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