Maurice A. O'Sullivan
mauros at iol.ie
Wed Jan 23 11:04:56 EST 2002
I see Trevor has already given you the basic "steer" on this --- it is
indeed a "Hebraism", and in
Zerwick, Maximilian S.J. Biblical Greek: Illustrated by Examples. English
edn. Adapted from the fourth Latin edn. By Joseph Smith S.J. Rome, 1963.
s.400 deals with this topic, and Mk. 8:12 is the first example chosen by
the author for illustration.
The section reads:
" In addition to its use in conditional clauses, whether 'real' or 'unreal'
or 'potential' EI is used as a Hebraism in emphatic negation in the form
of an oath. The conditional form is explained by the ellipse of an
imprecatory formula ' ( May God do thus and thus to me ) if .........
AMHN LEGW hUMIN, EI DOQHSETAI TH GENEA TAUTH SHMEION (Mk. 8:12)
That this formula was intelligible Greek is suggested by 3 Kg. 1:52 where
the Greek has
EI PESEITAI for 'shall not fall' though the Hebrew is not so expressed.
Thus EI introduces a negative oath ( 'certainly _not_ ) to which the
affirmative ( not found in the NT ) would thus be EI MH .... ( Hebrew IM LO
) e.g 3 Kg. 21:23
.... EAN DE POLEMHSWMEN AUTOUS KAT' EUQU, EI MH KRATAIWSOMEN UPER
AUTOUS ' surely we shall be stronger than they ' "
Hope this is of help to you.
I might add that this book by Zerwick is best used in conjunction with:
Zerwick, Maximilian,& Grosvenor, Mary. A Grammatical Analysis of the Greek
New Testament. Rome, 1988. ( and later )
because though this analysis will give a very brief note on, e.g Mk 8:12 it
was also refer the reader to the appropriate numbered section of Zerwick's
At 14:21 23/01/02, Erik Westwig wrote:
>I'm a beginner and I'm having some trouble with Mark 8:12.
>My USB 4th Edition (Revised) has the Greek text:
>KAI ANASTENAXAS TWi PNEUMATI AUTOU LEGEI, TI hH GENEA hAUTH ZHTEI SHMEION;
>AMHN LEGW hUMIN, EI DOQHSETAI TH GENEA TAUTH SHMEIOV.
>which my RSV translates as:
>And he sighed deeply in spirit, and said, "Why does this generation seek for
>Truly, I say to you, no sign shall be given to this generation."
>My trouble is with the second sentence. I don't understand how they get
>their negation (no sign shall be given).
Maurice A. O'Sullivan [ Bray, Ireland ]
mauros at iol.ie
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