[B-Greek] Double Negation with Subjunctive
cwconrad2 at mac.com
Fri Jan 4 19:32:48 EST 2008
On Jan 4, 2008, at 5:38 PM, Tim Davis wrote:
> --- Carl Conrad <cwconrad2 at mac.com> wrote:
>> 1. OU MH with an aorist subjunctive is a very strong
Objection has been offered to my term "very strong injunction." My
dictionary offers for "injunction": "an authoritative warning or
order." What I meant by that term was a negative command that is much
stronger than a simple negated imperative, e.g. MH PTUE ("don't spit",
printed on the walls of the rapid transit from Piraeus to Athens, as I
observed years ago), compared with OU MH PTUSHiS "don't you EVER
spit!"). Now, it's true that you may find OU MH + subjunctive in a
very strong assertion, generally about the future, usually in the
first or second person.
>> 2. I don't really think "mood of possibility" is
>> quite adequate as a
>> description of the subjunctive; it quite often bears
>> a force of
>> urgency or imperative. It might be better to think
>> of it in terms of
>> non-factuality. As such it appears in constructions
>> regarding what may
>> or could or should be true or happen.
> Thanks for both answers above. The "mood of
> possibility" was the description given in one of my
> formal classes, and I'm glad to get direction in an
> attempt to move beyond the basics (no pun on Daniel
> Wallace intended).
I wonder if this means you have read what Wallace said on the matter
and didn't find it satisfactory. I think BDAG would be worth
consulting on this (s.v. MH 4.):
4. marker of reinforced negation, in combination w. οὐ [OU], μή
[MH] has the effect of strengthening the negation (Kühner-G. II 221–
23; Schwyzer II 317; Mlt. 187–92 [a thorough treatment of NT usage];
B-D-F §365; RLudwig: D. prophet. Wort 31 ’37, 272–79; JLee, NovT
27, ’85, 18–23; B-D-F §365.—Pla., Hdt. et al. [Kühner-G. loc.
cit.]; SIG 1042, 16; POxy 119, 5, 14f; 903, 16; PGM 5, 279; 13, 321;
LXX; TestAbr A 8 p. 85, 11 [Stone p. 46]; JosAs 20:3; GrBar 1:7;
ApcEsdr 2:7; Just., D. 141, 2). οὐ μή is the most decisive way of
negativing someth. in the future.
a. w. the subj.
α. w. aor. subj. (TestAbr A 17 p. 99, 7 οὐ μὴ δυνηθῇς
θεάσασθαι OU MH DUNHQHiS QEASASQAI; JosAs 20:3; ParJer 2:5;
8:5; ApcSed 12:5; 13:6; Just., D. 141, 2; Ael. Aristid. 50, 107 K.=26
p. 533 D.: οὐ μὴ ἡμῶν καταφρονήσωσι OU MH
hHMWN KATAFRONHSWSWI; Diogenes, Ep. 38, 5; UPZ 62, 34; 79, 19) never,
certainly not, etc. Mt 5:18, 20, 26; 24:2; Mk 13:2; Lk 1:15; 6:37ab;
10:19; J 8:52; 10:28; 11:26; 13:8; 1 Cor 8:13; Hb 8:12 (Jer 38:34);
13:5; 1 Pt 2:6 (Is 28:16); Rv 2:11; 3:12; 18:21–23 al.—Also in a
rhetorical question, when an affirmative answer is expected οὐ μὴ
ποιήσῃ τὴν ἐκδίκησιν OU MH POIHSHi THN
EKDIKHSIN; will he not vindicate? Lk 18:7. οὐ μὴ πίω
αὐτό OU MH PIW AUTO; shall I not drink it? J 18:11. τίς οὐ
μὴ φοβηθῇ TIS OU MH FOBHQHi; who shall not fear? Rv 15:4.—
In relative clauses Mt 16:28; Mk 9:1; Ac 13:41 (Hab 1:5); Ro 4:8 (Ps
31:2); cp. Lk 18:30.—In declarative and interrogative sentences after
ὅτι Mt 24:34; Lk 22:16 (οὐκέτι οὐ μή OUKETI OU MH
v.l.); J 11:56; without ὅτι hOTI Mt 26:29; Lk 13:35.—Combined w.
οὐδέ OUDE: οὐδ᾿ οὐ μὴ γένηται OUD' OU MH
GENHTAI (Mitt-Wilck. I/2, 122, 4 [6 AD]) Mt 24:21 (B-D-F §431, 3).
β. w. pres. subj. Hb 13:5 v.l. ἐγκαταλείπω EGKATALEIPW
(accepted by Tdf., whereas most edd. read ἐγκαταλίπω
b. w. fut. ind. (En 98:12; 99:10; TestAbr A 8 p. 85, 11 [Stone p. 20]
οὐ μή σοι ἀκολουθήσω OU MH SOI AKOULQHSW; GrBar
1:7 οὐ μὴ προσθήσω OU MH PROSQHSW; ApcEsdr 2:7 οὐ
μὴ παύσομαι OU MH PAUSOMAI) οὐ μὴ ἔσται σοι
τοῦτο OU MH ESTAI SOI TOUTO Mt 16:22.—Hm 9:5; s 1:5; 4:7. Cp.
Mt 15:6; 26:35; Lk 10:19 v.l.; 21:33; J 4:14; 6:35b; 10:5
(ἀκολουθήσωσιν AKOLOUQHSWSIN v.l.); Hb 10:17.
οὐκέτι οὐ μὴ εὑρήσουσιν OUKETI OU MH
hURHSOUSIN Rv 18:14. οὐ γὰρ μὴ κληρονομήσει OU
MH KLHRONOMHSEI Gal 4:30 (Gen 21:10 v.l. ); but the tradition wavers
mostly betw. the fut. and aor. subj. (s. Mlt. and B-D-F loc. cit.).—
DELG. M-M. EDNT.
>> 3. You may find a future indicative with OU MH,
>> although the
>> subjunctive is more common.
> How would this construct be understood in relation to
> the one with the aorist subjunctive?
My impression is that the future indicative usage is in part a
reflection of LXX Greek translating the future imperatives as future
indicatives; I don't think there's really any special nuance of
difference; the aorist subjunctive is probably the usage taught in
schools, the future indicative more common in colloquial speech -- but
that's just my surmise.
> As for having been taught about double negatives as
>> to be avoided,
>> remember that rules you have learned regarding
>> English do not
>> necessarily apply to other languages. French uses
>> two negative
>> particles regularly, e.g. "je ne sais pas" -- where
>> both "ne" and
>> "pas" are negative particles/adverbs. Colloquial
>> English, for that
>> matter, whether or not the grammarians forbid it,
>> commonly enough uses
>> the double negative: "I ain't never gonna do that."
> I was attempting to do some newbie hazing of myself by
> using a double negative in my statement about being
> taught to not use double negatives. But like any
> attempt at humor, if you have to explain it, it must
> not have truly been funny. Oh, well.
I confess I didn't recognize the humor. The problem is that it is very
common for beginning students to suppose that Greek grammar "more or
less" conforms to what one has been taught of English grammar; the
real challenge is to become so intimately familiar with the Greek
usage that one doesn't think in terms of English equivalent
structures. But that takes a certain degree of inundation in the Greek
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)
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