[B-Greek] MONON as a special particle

moon at mail.sogang.ac.kr moon at mail.sogang.ac.kr
Fri Jan 31 08:23:59 EST 2003

Hi, all.
> > Recently I studied James 2:24, and was puzzled over MONON.
> I read that Blass, Debrunner, and Funk, A Greek Grammar of the New Testament,
> p. 125,224, talk about an occasional "confusing" of the adverb MOMON
> with the adjective MONO" in the NT. 
> Mark 6:8, Acts 11:19, 2 Tim 4:8, Heb 12:26, Jas 1:22, Mt 5:47, 
> Mt 10:42, Gal 3:2, Rom 3:29 can be cited as examples when the
> adverb is used instead of the adjective, yet having the force
> of the adjective. This conclusion seesm to be based on the fact that
> in these examples MONON modifiers nouns.
> In James 2:24, we have 
> It seems that Blass, DeDrunner, and Funk would think that MONON modifies
> PISTIS here, so that they would diagram EK PISTEWS MONON as
> But is it right to think that MONON as an "adverb" can "modify" noun within
> a prepositional phrase? My hypothesis is that as an adverb, MONON can modify
> a predicate or a subpredicate within a predicate. This usage is like 
> that of OU (the negative operator, which is also called an "adverb"), which 
> can "negate" any part of speech in a sentence. I would like to use English
> examples to explain what I am up to, because I believe that Englsih ONLY
> works in the same way as MONON. Also note that it is best to treat
> ONLY as a special particle rather than as an 'adverb".
> (1) Dictators respect only force; they are not moved by words.
> (2) Dictators only respect force; they do not worship it.
> .
> In (1), ONLY "modifies" noun FORCE and in (2), ONLY "modifies" verb RESPECT.
> ONLY seems to be a special particle that can modify any part of
> speech. Although I said ONLY modifies noun FORCe and verb RESPECT, 
> what really happens is better explained by parapharsing (1) and (2):
> (1)' Dictators respect nothing but force.
> (2)' What dictators do with respect to force is nothing but respect. 
> It implies that ONLY is a sentential operator which may be placed
> anywhere within a sentence and is placed in front of a constituent
> that it wants to focus on. 
> The above Greek examples show that MONON can focus the object of a 
> verb. It makes sense because MOMON in this case focuses on the role
> of the object of a given predication. But in the case of a 
> prepositional phrase like "On the park only", it is extremely
> difficult for ONLY to modify THE PARK, because THE PARK itself
> is not a part of a predication. If we think that ONLY modifies
> the whole prepositional phrase ON THE PARK, then ONLY
> focus on ON THE PARK in relation to the predication in which ON THE
> PARK plays a role. 
> > 
> The following example may be a counterexample for my hypothesis.
> > (3) Room for only one passenger.
> > 
> But here ONLY ONE as a whole is a predication which modifies PASSENGER.
> The conclusion: MONON, like ONLY in English, is used to focus on a 
> constituent which plays a role in a surrounding predicate. If this 
> hypothesis is right, then OUK EK PISTEWS MONON should be
> diagrammed as:
> > 
> [EK PISTEWS] is a constituent playing a role in the surrounding
> predication. Hence MONON can modify it. 
> > 
> Then a question is raised. 
> Why not OUK MONON EK PISTEWS? Then there would have been
> no confusion. 
> > 
> Sincerely
> Moon
> Moon R. Jung
> Sogang Univ, Seoul, Korea

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