[b-greek] Re: Negation again

From: Moon-Ryul Jung (moon@saint.soongsil.ac.kr)
Date: Wed Feb 21 2001 - 01:38:18 EST

Dear Keith,

I think that to understand the scope of negative particle like OU,
we need to use the concept of focus of a sentence. The focus of a
sentence is the part which conveys new information or generally
the information that is considered relevant and useful to the hearer.
The focus is often indicated by intonation or word order.

I. Examples of focus.

Consider the following sequence:

"What happend to John?
 He died".

Here, "died" is the focus and "something happened to John"
is the presupposed open proposition.


 What happened?
 John died.

Here, the whole sentence "John died" is new information and is the focus
of the sentence,
and the presupposed open proposition is that something happened".

II. Focus and negation

The theory of focus generally accepted in linquistics says
the following about negation:

(1) The part of the sentence that is not in focus constitutes the
(2) The background information is presupposed to be true and it is
of the scope of negation.

For example, consider

(a) John did not introduce Bill to [Sue]F
(b) John did not introduce [Bill]F to Sue.

In (a), Sue is in focus, and in (b) Bill is in focus.

(a) presupposes the open proposition that

(c) John introduced Bill to X, some person,

and (a) claimss that this X is not Sue. An "open proposition" is a
or statement that contains unbound variable, like X as in the above
Negative particile does not negate the presupposed open proposition, but
the relationship between the focused entity and the open proposition.

When an open proposition is applied to a specific entity, it becomes a
(closed) proposition,
which can be true or false. (a) claims that applying the open
 (c) to Sue yields a false proposition.

Similarly, (b) presupposes the open proposition

(d) John introduced X, some person, to Sue,

 and it claims that this X is not Bill. In other words, (b) claims that
applying the open proposition (d) to Bill yields a false proposition.

We often hear that negative particle does not always negate the whole
proposition but can negate a particular constituent. But this is not
exactly true.
By definition, what is negated is proposition, not some constituent of it.
 We cannot negate nouns referring to some objects, for example.
When we say "what is negated is the focus of a sentence", what is exactly
meant is that
the proposition obtained by applying the presupposed open proposition
to the focus of the sentence does not hold. So, what is negated is still
a proposition, but more specifically, it is the proposition obtained by
the presupposed open proposition to the focus of the sentence.

III. Focalizers

Adverbs like "only", "even", "also" are often called focalizers, and
associate with the focus of the sentence.

(a1) John only introduced Bill to [Sue]F.

Here Sue is in focus, which is indicated by stress.
 (Note again that focus is often indicated by word order in languages with
free word order like in Greek).
(a1) means the same as

(a2) John introduced Bill only to Sue.
Let us negate (a1).

(b1) John did not only introduce Bill to [Sue]F.

(b1) implies that John introduced Bill to people other than Sue.

(b1) means the same as
(b2) John did not introduce Bill only to Sue.
(b2) means the same as
(b3) John introduced Bill not only to Sue.

The above examples suggest that adverbs like "not" and focalizers such as
"also", "even", "only", associate with the focus of the sentence,
 and it does not matter too much where they are positioned
in the sentence as long as the association between them and the focus can
be identified.

IV. Application of the theory.

Now let me apply the theory to James 2:24, which was discussed under the
"what OU negates in James 2:24". Alan and I discussed this passage.


(i) Position I (my position):

EX ERGWN is the focus, being positioned at the front of the sentence. In
the second sentence,
EK PISTEWS is the focus, being parallel to EX ERGWN.
The most natural way to insert the implied verb is as follows (again based
on the parallelism of the
two sentences):

Adverb (focalizer) MONON associates with the focus EK PISTEWS. Hence EK
 the focus. The scope of the negation operator OU is the focus of the
A way to capture the second half of (1) is:

It is not only by faith that man is justified.

(ii) Position II (Alan's position)

Alan's position comes down to regarding "EX ERGWAN DIKAIOUNTAI" as the
focus of the
first sentence in (1). In this case, the implied verb DIKAIOUNTAI is best
inserted as follows:


This way, the parallelism between EX ERGWAN DIKAIOUNTAI and EK PISTEWS
is preserved. The focus of the second half is EK PISTEWS DIKAIOUNTAI.
Adverb MONON and OU associate with the focus. So, we would have the
following translation:

Man is justified by works and is not only justified by faith.

So, both positions are legitimate grammatically. Which is correct depends
on the
context of the whole paragraph or the context wider than that.

In this case, James 2:2223 seems to support that James talks about one
single justification rather than two.
Here James says:
You see that his faith works together with his works and so his faith is
brought to the goal by his works,
and thereby the scripture is fulfilled which says "
Abraham believed in God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness".

So, what James says comes down to:

Abraham's justification by works was fulfillment of his justification by

If one justification is the fulfillment of another, both should be
considered the
same. If Y is the fulfillment of X, it implies that X waits for its
fulfillment Y,
and is incomplete in itself. If we can talk about two kinds of
one by faith and the other by works, both valid, why did James say that
the latter is the fulfillment of the former as if the former lacks

Also, the fact that the verb DIKAIOUNTAI is omitted in the second
half of James 2:24 stronly implies that the same justification is talked
in the second half of James 2:24.

Moon-Ryul Jung
Associate Professor
Sogang Univ, Seoul, Korea

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