[b-greek] Re: Galatians 2:16 EAN MH

From: Moon-Ryul Jung (moon@sogang.ac.kr)
Date: Sat Mar 30 2002 - 10:50:50 EST

> > Glenn, I wasn't suggesting substituting ALLA for EAN MH, since I think EAN
> > MH makes perfect sense as is. The idea, in context, is, I think, perhaps
> > stronger than could be expressed by ALLA. It not only rules out
> > ERGWN NOMOU, but emphasizes that DIKAIWSIS is exclusively DIA
> > CRISTOU. It is not just marking an adversative relationship between
> > somewhat further in affirming that DIKAIWSIS is exclusively DIA PISTEWS
> > IHSOU CRISTOU ("a person is not justified EXCEPT through faith in Jesus
> > Christ").
> > ============
> >
> > Steven Lo Vullo
> I would like to support what Steven says here, that EAN MH is different (and
> maybe stronger) than ALLA and it affirms that righteousness is obtained
> exclusively through faith. It appears that EAN MH may have two slightly
> different functions in different contexts. One corresponds to "if not A then
> not B" and the other to "only if A then B". (This is linguistic logic rather
> than mathematical logic). After Moon's posting I realized that John is
> especially fond of this construction.
> To capture that sense of exclusiveness in ordinary English, it may be
> clearer to translate as two sentences and indicate EAN MH by "It only
> happens by..." I checked how we have done it in the Danish NLT we are
> working on. This is a functionally equivalent translation for a non-churched
> audience, still in draft form:
> "Men vi har indset at intet menneske bliver accepteret af Gud ved at
> overholde den jødiske lov. Det sker kun ved tro på Jesus som Frelseren."
> Which in English becomes:
> "But we have realized that no person is accepted by God through keeping the
> Jewish law. It only happens by faith in Jesus as the Saviour".
> In addition, I checked all the occurrences of EAN MH in John and changed a
> few of them in our translation to "only if A then B" rather than "if not A
> then not B". It is often more natural and clear to have two positives with
> "only" than two negatives. In many contexts there is no difference in
> meaning between these two.
> Compare the nuances between the following:
> 1) Only if a branch abides on the vine, can it bear fruit
> 2) If a branch does not abide on the vine, it cannot bear fruit on its own
> 3) A branch cannot bear fruit by itself. It can only bear fruit if it abides
> on the vine
> 4) A branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides on the vine
> 5) A branch cannot bear fruit by itself if it does not abide on the vine
> Iver Larsen


5) can be analyzed in two ways depending on the scope of the negative
operator "not":

(a) not (a branch bear fruit by itself) <= not (it abides on the vine)
(b) not (a branch bear fruit) by itself <= not (it abides on the vine)

(a) can imply (based on a natural language reasoning) that if it abides
on the vine, the branch can bear fruit by itself. But this is excluded
because "by itself" contradicts "abiding on the vine". So, only (b) is
feasible. (b) means the following:

 Suppose that a branch does not abide on the vine.
 It means that the branch is by itself.
 It does not bear fruit that way, that is, by itself.
Similarly Gal 2:16 can be analyzed in two ways:

(i) not (a person is justified by works of the law)
<= not (through the faith of Christ)
(ii) not ( a person is justified) by works of the law <= not
   (through the faith of Christ).

(i) implies (in common natural language reasoning) that
    a person can be justified by works of the law if the person has the
    faith of Christ.
 That is, (i) implies that the works of the law without the faith of
 is useless for justification, but the works of the law with the faith of
 Christ is useful for justification.

(ii) means:
  Suppose that a person does not have the faith of Christ.
  Then the person is left to rely on the works of the law.
  But the person is not justified by that means.

So, as "by itself" is an implication of the premise "not abiding on the
"by the works of the law" is an implication of the premise "not through
faith of Christ".

This is my attempt to make sense of the verse. To me, the attempt to
make "EHN MH" = "but" in some context does not look sound. If there is a
simple way to say "but", why would the writer use EHN ME for that purpose?

Moon R. Jung
Sogang Univ, Seoul, Korea


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