OU MH + Aorist Subj Ever NOT Emphatic?

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Drumman
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Joined: July 29th, 2016, 8:32 am

OU MH + Aorist Subj Ever NOT Emphatic?

Post by Drumman » July 29th, 2016, 8:37 am

Hi all:

I’ve been a very amateur student of Greek for a while now, and stumbled upon something that has challenged my long-held beliefs regarding OU MH + aorist subjunctive = emphatic negation. (Note…I am NOT a college student working on a dissertation—I’m just a curious academic librarian working on this stuff for my own enjoyment!).

I’ve always understood this double negative/emphatic negation to just be a fact, period (BDAG, Wallace, numerous others). However, I recently read an old (late 1800s) article by W. G. Ballantine in The American Journal of Philology. In this article (“Negative Futures in the Greek New Testament”), Ballantine puts forth a view that OU MH + aorist subj is (contrary to all I’ve heard) NOT emphatic. He claims this for several reasons, including the fact that OU and OU MH were apparently used interchangeably in the LXX (he gives a couple of examples from Isaiah). I believe Zerwick has noted this indiscriminate usage but still reached a different conclusion than Ballantine.

Ballantine also argues that OU MH is used in a majority of NT predictions, which is, in his view, inexplicable if this is to be taken as emphatic (I’m not convinced by this), and claims that many of these uses seem rather arbitrary, as well. Moulton quotes Ballantine and seems to agree that “it is not natural for a form of special emphasis to be used in the majority of places…” but eventually concludes that this use of OU MH is reserved for divine sayings.

My knee-jerk reaction is that Ballantine has failed to take into account the fact that this usage is so restricted in the NT that it seems to be almost entirely used in sayings of Jesus. That seems very significant to me. However, his points make me call into question my own beliefs regarding OU MH and aorist subj. Is Ballantine’s a fringe view, or has this really been a matter of debate that I’ve just missed? Is there any way to rule out his view that OU MH + aor subj was, at that point in time, not meant by the NT writers to be taken as emphatic? I still believe that if this were as common of a use as Ballantine claimed, it would appear in other places besides primarily the sayings of Jesus, but there are so many factors to consider that it is difficult to work through everything.
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Stephen Carlson
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Re: OU MH + Aorist Subj Ever NOT Emphatic?

Post by Stephen Carlson » July 31st, 2016, 9:39 pm

I haven't heard this. The article came out well before the discovery of a large number of documentary papyri, which greatly increased our knowledge of the Koine. I would love for newer studies (or do your own) based on the newer materials, rather than rely on anything from the 19th century and earlier.

As a matter of general linguistic principle, Ballatine's thesis as you've presented it has some plausibility. "Jespersen's cycle" describes a common historical behavior in languages to bleach out the strength of negatives, requiring them to be renewed by newer, more emphatic locutions (this in fact describes the origin of English "not" from "ne" + "aught", and Modern Greek δεν from ούδεν, replacing οὐ). Whether that actually happened to οὐ μή in NT times needs to be studied, with more evidence than in Ballantine's day.
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Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
Melbourne, Australia

Tony Pope
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Re: OU MH + Aorist Subj Ever NOT Emphatic?

Post by Tony Pope » August 1st, 2016, 2:38 am

This is discussed by J. A. L. Lee in his article 'Some Features of the Speech of Jesus in Mark's Gospel.' Novum Testamentum 27.1 1985 1-26. His discussion of οὐ μή begins on p. 18 and he refers to examples from documentary as well as literary sources. He claims the level of emphasis is variable (see p. 22 and n. 83).
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Drumman
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Re: OU MH + Aorist Subj Ever NOT Emphatic?

Post by Drumman » August 1st, 2016, 11:13 am

Thank you both for the responses. I will check into the Lee article, as well. Much appreciated!
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Stephen Hughes
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Re: OU MH + Aorist Subj Ever NOT Emphatic?

Post by Stephen Hughes » August 2nd, 2016, 1:48 am

Does either Ballatine or Lee define whether the emphasis is for effect in the conversation, or in the events. In P.Oxy. 1 119, it seems to be something like, believe me when I say ... If he really meant to never write again, he wouldn't be writing the extant letter.
P Oxy 1 119 wrote:Θέων Θέωνι τῷ πατρὶ χαίρειν.
καλῶς ἐποίησες(*) οὐκ ἀπενηχες(*) με μετε ἐ-
σοῦ (*)εἰς πόλιν. ἠ(*) οὐ θέλις(*) ἀπενεκκεῖν(*) <με> με-
τὲ(*) σοῦ εἰς Ἀλεξάνδριαν οὐ μὴ γράψω σε(*) ἐ-
5πιστολὴν οὔτε λαλῶ σε(*) οὔτε υἱγενω(*) σε,
εἶτα ἂν δὲ ἔλθῃς εἰς Ἀλεξάνδριαν οὐ
μὴ λάβω χειραν(*) παρὰ [σ]οῦ οὔτε πάλι χαίρω
σε λυπόν(*). ἂμ(*) μὴ θέλῃς ἀπενέκαι(*) μ[ε]
ταῦτα γε[ί]νετε(*). καὶ ἡ μήτηρ μου εἶπε Ἀρ̣-
10χελάῳ ὅτι ἀναστατοῖ μὲ(*) ἄρρον(*) αὐτόν.
καλῶς δὲ ἐποίησες(*) δῶρά μοι ἔπεμψε[ς](*)
μεγάλα ἀράκια πεπλάνηκαν ἡμως ἐκε[ῖ](*)
τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ιβ ὅτι ἔπλευσες(*). λυπὸν(*) πέμψον εἴ[ς]
με παρακαλῶ σε. ἂμ(*) μὴ πέμψῃς οὐ μὴ φά-
15γω, οὐ μὴ πείνω(*)· ταῦτα.
ἐρῶσθέ(*) σε εὔχ(ομαι).
Τῦβι ιη.
v
ἀπόδος Θέωνι [ἀ]π̣ὸ Θεωνᾶτος υἱῶ(*).
If we were to ignore the difference between verbal and phrasal negatives, then UPZ 2 172 has in effect a tripple negative in lines 19 and 20.
UPZ 2 172, 17-21 wrote:περὶ [δὲ \τοῦ/ ἐπιδ]εκάτου τ[ῆ]ς
κρίσε[ως ταύ]της οὐθὲν
ὑμῖ[ν ἐγκαλοῦ]μεν [ο]ὐδʼ οὐ
20μὴ ἐπ[έλθω]μεν ὑμῖν περὶ
αὐτο[ῦ οὐδʼ ἄλλ]ος περὶ ἡμῶν
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

cwconrad
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Re: OU MH + Aorist Subj Ever NOT Emphatic?

Post by cwconrad » August 2nd, 2016, 8:06 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:I haven't heard this. The article came out well before the discovery of a large number of documentary papyri, which greatly increased our knowledge of the Koine. I would love for newer studies (or do your own) based on the newer materials, rather than rely on anything from the 19th century and earlier.

As a matter of general linguistic principle, Ballatine's thesis as you've presented it has some plausibility. "Jespersen's cycle" describes a common historical behavior in languages to bleach out the strength of negatives, requiring them to be renewed by newer, more emphatic locutions (this in fact describes the origin of English "not" from "ne" + "aught", and Modern Greek δεν from ούδεν, replacing οὐ). Whether that actually happened to οὐ μή in NT times needs to be studied, with more evidence than in Ballantine's day.
I remember reading -- several decades ago, I think in some essay on translation -- reading about an old Latin version of John 15:5
... χωρὶς ἐμοῦ οὐ δύνασθε ποιεῖν οὐδέν.
sine me non protests facere nihil.
The commenter noted that the double negative in Latin ordinarily cancels it, so that this version perverts the sense of the original. I've always wondered, however, whether that was really the case with colloquial Latin. "I ain't never going to listen to nothing that guy says!" is substandard English but is misunderstood by none. At any rate, here's another instance of the effort to ramp up the rhetoric by multiplying the negation.
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

Jonathan Robie
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Re: OU MH + Aorist Subj Ever NOT Emphatic?

Post by Jonathan Robie » August 2nd, 2016, 8:31 am

Drumman wrote:However, I recently read an old (late 1800s) article by W. G. Ballantine in The American Journal of Philology. In this article (“Negative Futures in the Greek New Testament”), Ballantine puts forth a view that OU MH + aorist subj is (contrary to all I’ve heard) NOT emphatic. He claims this for several reasons, including the fact that OU and OU MH were apparently used interchangeably in the LXX (he gives a couple of examples from Isaiah). I believe Zerwick has noted this indiscriminate usage but still reached a different conclusion than Ballantine.

Ballantine also argues that OU MH is used in a majority of NT predictions, which is, in his view, inexplicable if this is to be taken as emphatic (I’m not convinced by this), and claims that many of these uses seem rather arbitrary, as well. Moulton quotes Ballantine and seems to agree that “it is not natural for a form of special emphasis to be used in the majority of places…” but eventually concludes that this use of OU MH is reserved for divine sayings.
The article is here:

http://www.jstor.org/stable/287765?seq= ... b_contents
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

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