Double Negatives

Steven Craig Miller scmiller at
Fri Nov 19 12:23:18 EST 1999

To: David Miller,

<< Upon re-reading Morris, I found, to my chagrin, that I had indeed 
misunderstood his double negatives.  I must have been in a bit of a fog 
when I read him the first time.  Morris does in fact agree with everyone 
else that Rom 10:19 should be answered in the affirmative.  I am not sure 
what I am doing studying Greek, when I can't even read English! >>

IMO the issue is not so simple that confusion on this issue should be 
thought to be abnormal. For example, in BAGD we find:

<< In cases like Ro 10:18f; 1 Cor 9:4f MH is an interrog. word and OU 
negates the verb. The double negative causes one to expect an affirmative 
answer >> (517).

But A.T. Robertson writes:

<< So Ro. 10:18, MH OUK HKOUSAN; We may render it 'Did they fail to hear?' 
expecting the answer 'No' >> (1174).

How does "no" become "an affirmative answer"? <g>

-Steven Craig Miller
Alton, Illinois (USA)
scmiller at

"... while steering clear of the Scylla of credulity one must be wary of 
the Charybdis of undue skepticism" (Frederick W. Danker, "A Century of 
Greco-Roman Philology," 146).

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