ει μη and εαν μη

Biblical Greek morphology and syntax, aspect, linguistics, discourse analysis, and related topics
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Rob Campanaro
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Joined: August 10th, 2013, 5:03 pm

ει μη and εαν μη

Post by Rob Campanaro » February 18th, 2017, 2:01 pm

Can anyone tell me if there is a substantive difference between "ει μη" and "εαν μη." BDAG, for the most part, seems to treat them as semantic equivalents.

Thanks.
Robert Campanaro
Coatesville, PA

Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: ει μη and εαν μη

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » February 18th, 2017, 4:10 pm

There are others here who can give a textbook answer to this. After looking at Smyth, ATR, BDAG and Grimm-Thayer I did some searching. Note Louw & Nida (2nd ed 1989).
LN 89.131 εἰ μή: a marker of contrast by designating an exception — ‘except that, but, however, instead, but only.’ ὃ οὐκ ἔστιν ἄλλο· εἰ μή τινές εἰσιν οἱ ταράσσοντες ὑμᾶς ‘not that there is another (gospel), except that there are some who trouble you’ Ga 1:7; ὃ οὐκ ἐξὸν ἦν αὐτῷ φαγεῖν οὐδὲ τοῖς μετ᾿ αὐτοῦ, εἰ μὴ τοῖς ἱερεῦσιν μόνοις ‘it was not lawful for him or the ones with him to eat, but instead, for the priests only’ Mt 12:4.
Not mentioned in LN εἰ μή in the NT prefers the indicative mood or an infinitve.

Examples:
Matt. 5:13 Ὑμεῖς ἐστε τὸ ἅλας τῆς γῆς· ἐὰν δὲ τὸ ἅλας μωρανθῇ, ἐν τίνι ἁλισθήσεται; εἰς οὐδὲν ἰσχύει ἔτι εἰ μὴ βληθὲν ἔξω καταπατεῖσθαι ὑπὸ τῶν ἀνθρώπων.

Matt. 11:27 Πάντα μοι παρεδόθη ὑπὸ τοῦ πατρός μου, καὶ οὐδεὶς ἐπιγινώσκει τὸν υἱὸν εἰ μὴ ὁ πατήρ, οὐδὲ τὸν πατέρα τις ἐπιγινώσκει εἰ μὴ ὁ υἱὸς καὶ ᾧ ἐὰν βούληται ὁ υἱὸς ἀποκαλύψαι.

Matt. 12:4 πῶς εἰσῆλθεν εἰς τὸν οἶκον τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ τοὺς ἄρτους τῆς προθέσεως ἔφαγον, ὃ οὐκ ἐξὸν ἦν αὐτῷ φαγεῖν οὐδὲ τοῖς μετ᾿ αὐτοῦ εἰ μὴ τοῖς ἱερεῦσιν μόνοις;

Matt. 12:24 οἱ δὲ Φαρισαῖοι ἀκούσαντες εἶπον· οὗτος οὐκ ἐκβάλλει τὰ δαιμόνια εἰ μὴ ἐν τῷ Βεελζεβοὺλ ἄρχοντι τῶν δαιμονίων.

Matt. 12:39 ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς· γενεὰ πονηρὰ καὶ μοιχαλὶς σημεῖον ἐπιζητεῖ, καὶ σημεῖον οὐ δοθήσεται αὐτῇ εἰ μὴ τὸ σημεῖον Ἰωνᾶ τοῦ προφήτου.

Matt. 13:57 καὶ ἐσκανδαλίζοντο ἐν αὐτῷ. ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς· οὐκ ἔστιν προφήτης ἄτιμος εἰ μὴ ἐν τῇ πατρίδι καὶ ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ αὐτοῦ.

Matt. 14:17 οἱ δὲ λέγουσιν αὐτῷ· οὐκ ἔχομεν ὧδε εἰ μὴ πέντε ἄρτους καὶ δύο ἰχθύας.

Matt. 15:24 ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν· οὐκ ἀπεστάλην εἰ μὴ εἰς τὰ πρόβατα τὰ ἀπολωλότα οἴκου Ἰσραήλ.

Matt. 16:4 γενεὰ πονηρὰ καὶ μοιχαλὶς σημεῖον ἐπιζητεῖ, καὶ σημεῖον οὐ δοθήσεται αὐτῇ εἰ μὴ τὸ σημεῖον Ἰωνᾶ. καὶ καταλιπὼν αὐτοὺς ἀπῆλθεν.

Matt. 17:8 ἐπάραντες δὲ τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτῶν οὐδένα εἶδον εἰ μὴ αὐτὸν Ἰησοῦν μόνον.

Matt. 21:19 καὶ ἰδὼν συκῆν μίαν ἐπὶ τῆς ὁδοῦ ἦλθεν ἐπ᾿ αὐτὴν καὶ οὐδὲν εὗρεν ἐν αὐτῇ εἰ μὴ φύλλα μόνον, καὶ λέγει αὐτῇ· μηκέτι ἐκ σοῦ καρπὸς γένηται εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα. καὶ ἐξηράνθη παραχρῆμα ἡ συκῆ.

Matt. 24:22 καὶ εἰ μὴ ἐκολοβώθησαν αἱ ἡμέραι ἐκεῖναι, οὐκ ἂν ἐσώθη πᾶσα σάρξ· διὰ δὲ τοὺς ἐκλεκτοὺς κολοβωθήσονται αἱ ἡμέραι ἐκεῖναι.

Matt. 24:36 Περὶ δὲ τῆς ἡμέρας ἐκείνης καὶ ὥρας οὐδεὶς οἶδεν, οὐδὲ οἱ ἄγγελοι τῶν οὐρανῶν οὐδὲ ὁ υἱός, εἰ μὴ ὁ πατὴρ μόνος
ἐὰν μὴ prefers the subjunctive mood.

some examples:
Matt. 5:20 Λέγω γὰρ ὑμῖν ὅτι ἐὰν μὴ περισσεύσῃ ὑμῶν ἡ δικαιοσύνη πλεῖον τῶν γραμματέων καὶ Φαρισαίων, οὐ μὴ εἰσέλθητε εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τῶν οὐρανῶν.

Matt. 6:15 ἐὰν δὲ μὴ ἀφῆτε τοῖς ἀνθρώποις, οὐδὲ ὁ πατὴρ ὑμῶν ἀφήσει τὰ παραπτώματα ὑμῶν.

Matt. 10:13 καὶ ἐὰν μὲν ᾖ ἡ οἰκία ἀξία, ἐλθάτω ἡ εἰρήνη ὑμῶν ἐπ᾿ αὐτήν, ἐὰν δὲ μὴ ᾖ ἀξία, ἡ εἰρήνη ὑμῶν πρὸς ὑμᾶς ἐπιστραφήτω.

Matt. 11:6 καὶ μακάριός ἐστιν ὃς ἐὰν μὴ σκανδαλισθῇ ἐν ἐμοί.

Matt. 12:29 ἢ πῶς δύναταί τις εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν τοῦ ἰσχυροῦ καὶ τὰ σκεύη αὐτοῦ ἁρπάσαι, ἐὰν μὴ πρῶτον δήσῃ τὸν ἰσχυρόν; καὶ τότε τὴν οἰκίαν αὐτοῦ διαρπάσει.

Matt. 18:3 καὶ εἶπεν· ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ἐὰν μὴ στραφῆτε καὶ γένησθε ὡς τὰ παιδία, οὐ μὴ εἰσέλθητε εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τῶν οὐρανῶν.

Matt. 18:16 ἐὰν δὲ μὴ ἀκούσῃ, παράλαβε μετὰ σοῦ ἔτι ἕνα ἢ δύο, ἵνα ἐπὶ στόματος δύο μαρτύρων ἢ τριῶν σταθῇ πᾶν ῥῆμα·

Matt. 18:35 οὕτως καὶ ὁ πατήρ μου ὁ οὐράνιος ποιήσει ὑμῖν, ἐὰν μὴ ἀφῆτε ἕκαστος τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ ἀπὸ τῶν καρδιῶν ὑμῶν.

Matt. 26:42 πάλιν ἐκ δευτέρου ἀπελθὼν προσηύξατο λέγων· πάτερ μου, εἰ οὐ δύναται τοῦτο παρελθεῖν ἐὰν μὴ αὐτὸ πίω, γενηθήτω τὸ θέλημά σου.
C. Stirling Bartholomew

Paul-Nitz
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Re: ει μη and εαν μη

Post by Paul-Nitz » February 20th, 2017, 8:12 am

Rob Campanaro wrote:substantive difference between "ει μη" and "εαν μη ?
Thanks for the question. Funk §855 helped confirm my opinion on the question.

There's no difference between εἰ and ἐάν, except that ἄν alerts me that a Subjunctive is coming up. The real difference is not in εἰ μη or ἐὰν μη but in the mood of the verb. Thus, I think the question could be reframed, "What's the difference between an Indicative versus a Subjunctive in the protasis of a condition?"

Any conditional sentence, negated or not, contains an assumption. When a speaker uses εἰ + Indicative, he has a greater expectation of the assumption being true or fulfilled.

εἰ ἀρεῖς...
If you pick up that red hot coal, your fingers will be burned.

When a speaker uses ἐάν + Subjunctive, he has an undetermined (or less greater) expectation of the assumption being true or fulfilled. In the right context, this increased unreality can indicate a generalization of the assumption, a thought we would need to express in present day English with the word "ever."

ἐὰν ἄρης...

If you would pick up that red hot coal, your fingers will be burned.
If ever you pick up that red hot coal, your fingers will be burned.
Should you pick up that red hot coal, your fingers will be burned (archaic).

It's discouraging to me that I had to look this up after "learning" it so many times over. What I need to do to get this in my head is try out these two types of conditionals in every day situations. When would I use Indicative, when would I use Subjunctive?
How about, ἐὰν οὐρήσῃς, κλείσον τὸν κέραμον (τοῦτ ἐστιν ἡ ἀμίς) And εἰ μὴ κλείσεις, αὕτη ὀργίσεται.

Maybe having a couple memorable exemplars would help, too.
If-If.jpg
If-If.jpg (64.28 KiB) Viewed 481 times
Thomas Benfield Harbottle. (1897). Dictionary of Quotations (Classical). London: Swan Sonnenschein & Co. Limited. Retrieved from https://archive.org/details/dictionaryquota04harbgoog
Paul D. Nitz - Lilongwe Malawi

Eeli Kaikkonen
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Re: ει μη and εαν μη

Post by Eeli Kaikkonen » February 20th, 2017, 4:50 pm

Paul-Nitz wrote: Any conditional sentence, negated or not, contains an assumption. When a speaker uses εἰ + Indicative, he has a greater expectation of the assumption being true or fulfilled.
A small disagreement: indicative is just the default mood, in the condition it represents something as true for the sake of the argument, not because the speaker has any expectation about it. I have long been enamoured by 1Cor 15:12etc. It doesn't have ει μη or εαν μη, just ει, but the idea is the same, negation or not.

12 Εἰ δὲ Χριστὸς κηρύσσεται ὅτι ἐκ νεκρῶν ἐγήγερται, πῶς λέγουσιν ⸂ἐν ὑμῖν τινες⸃ ὅτι ἀνάστασις νεκρῶν οὐκ ἔστιν;
13 εἰ δὲ ἀνάστασις νεκρῶν οὐκ ἔστιν, οὐδὲ Χριστὸς ἐγήγερται·
14 εἰ δὲ Χριστὸς οὐκ ἐγήγερται, κενὸν ἄρα τὸ κήρυγμα ἡμῶν, κενὴ καὶ ἡ πίστις ὑμῶν,
15 εὑρισκόμεθα δὲ καὶ ψευδομάρτυρες τοῦ θεοῦ, ὅτι ἐμαρτυρήσαμεν κατὰ τοῦ θεοῦ ὅτι ἤγειρεν τὸν Χριστόν, ὃν οὐκ ἤγειρεν εἴπερ ἄρα νεκροὶ οὐκ ἐγείρονται.
16 εἰ γὰρ νεκροὶ οὐκ ἐγείρονται, οὐδὲ Χριστὸς ἐγήγερται·
17 εἰ δὲ Χριστὸς οὐκ ἐγήγερται, ματαία ἡ πίστις ὑμῶν, ἔτι ἐστὲ ἐν ταῖς ἁμαρτίαις ὑμῶν.
18 ἄρα καὶ οἱ κοιμηθέντες ἐν Χριστῷ ἀπώλοντο.
19 εἰ ἐν τῇ ζωῇ ταύτῃ ἐν Χριστῷ ἠλπικότες ἐσμὲν μόνον, ἐλεεινότεροι πάντων ἀνθρώπων ἐσμέν.
20 Νυνὶ δὲ Χριστὸς ἐγήγερται ἐκ νεκρῶν, ἀπαρχὴ τῶν κεκοιμημένων.

Just think how much more rhetorical punch this has because it has indicative instead of subjunctive.

Rob Campanaro
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Re: ει μη and εαν μη

Post by Rob Campanaro » February 21st, 2017, 7:23 am

Thanks for the replies, they're much appreciated. I guess my next question would be, are all sentences containing either phrase always conditional? We usually translate them as introducing an exception where something is implicitly affirmed. For instance, Matthew 11:27:

"οὐδεὶς ἐπιγινώσκει τὸν υἱὸν εἰ μὴ ὁ πατήρ."
"No one knows the Son except the Father."

The rule would be that no one knows the Son, with the Father who does know the Son being the only exception. But is this, in reality, just a conditional sentence in which the protasis is hypothetically possible?

"οὐδεὶς ἐπιγινώσκει τὸν υἱὸν εἰ μὴ ὁ πατήρ.
"No one knows the Son if the Father doesn't [know Him.]"
Robert Campanaro
Coatesville, PA

Eeli Kaikkonen
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Re: ει μη and εαν μη

Post by Eeli Kaikkonen » February 21st, 2017, 5:06 pm

Rob Campanaro wrote: The rule would be that no one knows the Son, with the Father who does know the Son being the only exception. But is this, in reality, just a conditional sentence in which the protasis is hypothetically possible?
No. It's just different meaning of ει μη. Or may I should say that when those words are in a condition they both have their own meanings. When it means exception it's more like fixed expression, those two words together have meaning which is not sum of the parts.

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