οὐδέ in Galatians 3:28

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οὐδέ in Galatians 3:28

Postby Andrew Chapman » June 21st, 2013, 6:49 am

οὐκ ἔνι Ἰουδαῖος οὐδὲ Ἕλλην, οὐκ ἔνι δοῦλος οὐδὲ ἐλεύθερος, οὐκ ἔνι ἄρσεν καὶ θῆλυ· πάντες γὰρ ὑμεῖς εἷς ἐστε ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ.

I read this to mean that in Christ, and particularly with salvation and baptism in view, there is no Jew and there is no Greek. One might say that, standing by the pool of baptism, as it were, whatever other identities one may have fade into the background and nothingness in contrast to our identity as Christian believers. This retains the normal function of οὐδέ, that it adds one negation to another.

But some say that it should be read as 'there is no Jew-or-Greek [distinction]'. For example, Philip Payne writes: 'Paul’s meaning is: there is no ‘Jew–Greek’ dichotomy in Christ..'. Although this may make slightly easier sense, it seems to me to be trying to make οὐδέ function like, say, ἤ, as a disjunctive particle, whereas in fact it retains a meaning close to οὐ plus δέ and is very often copulative, adding one negative to another as I said above.

Would be grateful for your insights,

Andrew
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Re: οὐδέ in Galatians 3:28

Postby Stephen Carlson » June 21st, 2013, 9:29 am

Yes, I read ούδέ too as adding a negative, but you should be aware that, according to De Morgan's Law, (not X and not Y) is equivalent to not (X or Y) and I think that Payne is merely restating the assertion in different but equivalent term.. After all, the logical notions of "and" and "or" are dual to one another, and there is a certain amount of play between them, so I don't think this would be the strongest angle of criticism to Payne's exegesis.

Perhaps stronger is to question where he gets the notion of "dichotomy" from. After all, not everyone is a Jew or Greek; for example, the parallel in Col 4:11 adds "Scythian."
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D. (Duke, New Testament)
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Re: οὐδέ in Galatians 3:28

Postby Andrew Chapman » June 21st, 2013, 1:14 pm

Thanks, Stephen. Yes, I realised recently how similar 'and' and 'or' are in negative statements: 'no salt and pepper, please' has much the same effect as 'no salt or pepper, please'.

I perhaps should clarify that Payne's statement came from his paper on οὐδέ in 1 Timothy 2:12. He builds up an empirical case that Paul usually uses οὐδέ to convey 'a single idea', by giving examples where the two terms that are joined are very similar in meaning; and then by what I think is a non sequitur, translates this thesis to 1 Timothy 2:12, where the two terms are firmly differentiated semantically, and proposes that they 'combine' to convey the single idea of women teaching in a way that involves αὐθεντειν ἀνδρος.

He seems to be proposing that οὐδέ does something, as it were, to combine terms into a single idea. He makes much of the fact that οὐδέ can sometimes be translated with an 'and', rather than an 'or'; but this is what one would expect, since δέ can as well be copulative as lightly adversative. He then, I think, conflates two meanings of 'and' - in Venn notation, A ∩ B instead of A ∪ B - ie 'A and B combined together' rather than 'A and B including both'. (I just looked up De Morgan's Law and see this notation can be used to express the law.) I don't know whose law this would be, but NOT A ∩ B is not the same as NOT A ∪ B. For example, if I said 'no salt and pepper, please' and the waiter understood me to mean A ∩ B, so that it was only the combination of salt and pepper that I didn't want, then my food might come with just salt on it, or just pepper. But that's not the meaning I would have intended to convey. Likewise, I find it hard to believe that it is only the combination of διδασκειν and αὐθεντειν ἀνδρος that Paul is prohibiting, whereas one or other on their own would be OK.

In Romans 2:28:

28 οὐ γὰρ ὁ ἐν τῷ φανερῷ Ἰουδαῖός ἐστιν, οὐδὲ ἡ ἐν τῷ φανερῷ ἐν σαρκὶ περιτομή·
29 ἀλλ’ ὁ ἐν τῷ κρυπτῷ Ἰουδαῖος, καὶ περιτομὴ καρδίας ἐν πνεύματι οὐ γράμματι, οὗ ὁ ἔπαινος οὐκ ἐξ ἀνθρώπων ἀλλ’ ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ.

Payne gives a translation by Weymouth that uses 'and' instead of 'or':

For the true Jew is not the man who is outwardly a Jew, and true circumcision is not that which is outward and bodily.


This seems perfectly reasonable to me. He also cites a paraphrase from the TEV:

After all, who is a real Jew, truly circumcised? Not the man who is a Jew on the outside, whose circumcision is a physical thing


There is nothing really objectionable about that either, since I would agree that Paul is probably saying much the same thing, in two different ways. As I see it, οὐδέ here is behaving in the usual way, simply adding one negative to another. Because the two terms are so similar, it is like one is being one is overlaid upon the other, and they merge together. The result is that they could be said to combine into a single idea. But it is not οὐδέ which is combining them into one, it is their similarity in meaning, so far as I can see. And so there is no reason to suppose that the same sort of thing will happen when οὐδέ joins two dissimilar terms. Would you agree?

Andrew
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