[B-Greek] MONON as a special particle

Iver Larsen iver_larsen at sil.org
Fri Jan 31 10:43:07 EST 2003

[Moon:]> > > 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.

I have looked at p. 125 and 224 in BDF, but cannot find what you are
referring to. Can you be more precise?
Of the references mentioned only Gal 3:2 has MONON as an adjective, all
others are adverbs. It is, of course, the neuter form of the adjective that
is used as an adverb.

> > 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:
> > >
> > [ OUK [ [EK PISTEWS] MONON ] ]
> >
> > [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.

I would agree that it is probably better to take MONON as a kind of particle
which functions in a way similar to OU(K). The scope of its operation may be
a noun or noun phrase in which is it like an adjective, or the scope may the
whole predicate, in which case it is like an adverb.
In Jas 2:24 the implied verb is DIKAIOUTAI, carried over from the previous
clause. A person is not only justified by showing/having faith. That is, the
action of showing/having faith is not enough. One also needs the action of
showing/having works.
Actually, there is no significant difference in meaning in this sentence
whether one takes MONON to modify the noun phrase or the whole predicate,
but grammatically it seems clear that it modifies the predicate.
All the examples of MONON as an adjective I could find in the GNT were
actually accusative masculine or neuter, no nominative neuter.

Concerning the word order, MONON occasionally occurs at the end when it
modifies the whole clause, especially when the other elements in the clause
are relatively more prominent as in Jas 2:24. Notice that the only words in
the clause are KAI OUK EK PISTEWS MONON. The fronted EK PISTEWS corresponds
nicely and contrastively to the fronted EX ERGWN in the previous clause.

Iver Larsen

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