double negative

Daniel L. Christiansen dlc at
Wed May 8 18:47:45 EDT 2002

Jim West wrote [snipped]:

> perhaps a dynamic equivalent like "hell no" which in english carries
> essentially the same force as the double negative in koine.
> that said- i doubt a congregation would be too awfully thrilled with such a
> rendering - so maybe you could offer them the much softened "may it NEVER
> be" or some such.

    You're probably right on the "not thrilled" thought :-)  However, the rendering
of OU MH + aorist subjunctive by "may it never be" seems problematic to me.  (That
is, of course, not a bad way to translate MH GENOITO).  I have not understood this
construction as implying a wish, but a negative certainty.  With that thought in
mind, FWIW, I have my students learn OU MH + aor. subj. as "there is no stinkin' way
that X will ever happen."

Daniel L. Christiansen
Professor, Bible & Theology, Biblical Languages
Multnomah Bible College and Biblical Seminary
(503) 445-5295

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