οὔπω ἔχετε πίστιν; in Mark 4.40

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MGV Hoffman
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Joined: December 29th, 2011, 1:28 am

οὔπω ἔχετε πίστιν; in Mark 4.40

Post by MGV Hoffman » November 24th, 2017, 12:19 pm

In the stilling of the storm account in Mark 4.35-41, the disciples wake Jesus, he calms the storm, and then says to them: Τί δειλοί ἐστε; οὔπω ἔχετε πίστιν;
This is usually translated as something like: Why are you cowards? Are you still not having faith?
There are some text critical issues with Jesus' words, but I want to focus on the second phrase.
- Most (all?) English translations take it as a question, but it could nicely be rendered as a statement: "You are still not having faith."
- If taken as a question, however, I'm wondering about the use of οὔπω (and, in contrast, not μηπω). In a question, wouldn't this imply a positive answer? Hence, I'm thinking "Are you still not having faith?" doesn't quite capture the Greek. Wouldn't "You are still having faith, aren't you?" would be preferred.

It's not a major issue, but note the distinctions between these English options:
1) "You are still not having faith."
2) "Are you still not having faith?"
3) "You are still having faith, aren't you?"

My question: If the sentence is taken as a question, and with the use of οὔπω, is it correct to think that #3 is the best option?
Thanks!
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Barry Hofstetter
Posts: 1336
Joined: May 6th, 2011, 1:48 pm

Re: οὔπω ἔχετε πίστιν; in Mark 4.40

Post by Barry Hofstetter » November 26th, 2017, 10:34 am

MGV Hoffman wrote:
November 24th, 2017, 12:19 pm
In the stilling of the storm account in Mark 4.35-41, the disciples wake Jesus, he calms the storm, and then says to them: Τί δειλοί ἐστε; οὔπω ἔχετε πίστιν;
This is usually translated as something like: Why are you cowards? Are you still not having faith?
There are some text critical issues with Jesus' words, but I want to focus on the second phrase.
- Most (all?) English translations take it as a question, but it could nicely be rendered as a statement: "You are still not having faith."
- If taken as a question, however, I'm wondering about the use of οὔπω (and, in contrast, not μηπω). In a question, wouldn't this imply a positive answer? Hence, I'm thinking "Are you still not having faith?" doesn't quite capture the Greek. Wouldn't "You are still having faith, aren't you?" would be preferred.

It's not a major issue, but note the distinctions between these English options:
1) "You are still not having faith."
2) "Are you still not having faith?"
3) "You are still having faith, aren't you?"

My question: If the sentence is taken as a question, and with the use of οὔπω, is it correct to think that #3 is the best option?
Thanks!
I think it has to do more with the meaning of οὔπω. It means "not yet."

οὔπω adv. of time (Hom. et al.; pap, LXX; ParJer 5:21; Philo, Joseph.) the negation of extending time up to and beyond an expected point, not yet Mt 24:6; Mk 13:7; J 2:4; 6:17; 7:6, 8a v.l. (for οὐκ), 8b (v.l. οὐδέπω P66) 30, 39a (Aesop, Fab. 466 P. οἶνος γὰρ οὔπω ἦν [people still drank nectar]), 39b v.l. (for οὐδέπω); 8:20, 57; 11:30; 20:17; 1 Cor 3:2; 8:2; Phil 3:13 v.l.; Hb 2:8; 12:4; 1J 3:2; Rv 17:10, 12; IEph 3:1; Hv 3, 9, 5; Hs 9, 5, 2. οὐδεὶς οὔπω no one ever (Maximus Tyr. 39, 3i) Mk 11:2 (v.l. without οὔπω); Lk 23:53 (v.l. οὐδέπω). οὔπω (for οὐδέπω) … ἐπʼ οὐδενί Ac 8:16 v.l. In questions: Mt 16:9; Mk 4:40 (v.l. πῶς οὐκ); 8:17, 21. οὔπω γάρ introducing a digression (Jos., Bell. 1, 39; 6, 80) J 3:24.—M-M.

Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., Bauer, W., & Gingrich, F. W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed., p. 737). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Yes, some English translations, in an attempt to be idiomatic in English, use "still" as part of the translation, but that does not equate to the positive definition of "still" in English in your attempt above.

The use of οὐ to ask a question expecting a "yes" answer does not necessarily extend to its compounds. It is the context that likely makes this a question, which is made negative by οὔπω.

Therefore option 1 or 2 would better.
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
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