[B-Greek] ALLA (conj.) = "but" / "not only that but also"?

Iver Larsen iver_larsen at sil.org
Thu Jun 2 01:20:03 EDT 2011


Hi, David,

If I understand Rick correctly, he is basically agreeing with your understanding 
of "not only A, but (also) B." There is a certain contrast, but it is not 
necessarily "adversative" in the sense that B cancels out A or opposes A. Maybe 
we could describe it as a "contrastive addition"? How strong the contrast is and 
the nature of the contrast depends on context. In most cases a single 
conjunction or discourse particle in Greek cannot be adequately explained by a 
single word in English.

If A is modified by a negative particle, then a replacement is implied, as BDAG 
says:

① after a negative or after μέν: on the contrary

We might rephrase: Not only is A not the case, but B is the case.

Sometimes the "not only, but also" is explicit in Greek, for instance:
Act 21:13 ἐγὼ γὰρ οὐ μόνον δεθῆναι ἀλλὰ καὶ ἀποθανεῖν ἑτοίμως ἔχω
EGW GAR OU MONON DEQHNAI ALLA KAI APOQANEIN hETOIMWS ECW

Here the negative particle OU negates MONON which means that the action of 
binding is not replaced or denied but the "onlyness" of it is negated. Not only 
am I prepared to be bound (imprisoned), but even/additionally to die.

When it does not occur after a negative, BDAG has:
② when whole clauses are compared, ἀλλά can indicate a transition to someth. 
different or contrasted: the other side of a matter or issue.

③ before independent clauses, to indicate that the preceding is to be regarded 
as a settled matter, thus forming a transition to someth. new (Just., A I, 3; 
10, 1) other matter for additional consideration

④ for strong alternative/additional consideration

Iver Larsen

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "=)" <p1234567891 at gmail.com>
To: "Rick Brannan" <textgeek+bgreek at gmail.com>; "B-Greek List" 
<b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: 2. juni 2011 04:57
Subject: Re: [B-Greek] ALLA (conj.) = "but" / "not only that but also"?


> Dear Rick,
>
> Yes I agree that "ALLA" (sorry I forgot to transliterate it in my original
> email) functions to indicate contrast (and I believe "but" in English is the
> most generic word that can be used to "cover" that function), though I do
> not really see a difference between creating a contrast and having an
> adversative meaning. I understand what you are saying about 2 Cor 7:11, but
> doesn't it still imply "but also"? As for 1 Cor 6:11, it appears to be a
> normal use of "ALLA" if it is taken as: "KAI TAUTA TINES HTE { ALLA
> APELOUSASQE | ALLA HGIASQHTE | ALL EDIKAIWQHTE } EN TW ONOMATI TOU KURIOU
> IHSOU KAI EN TW PNEUMATI TOU QEOU HMWN" = "and these some of you were { but
> you were washed | but you were sanctified | but you were justified } in the
> name of the lord Jesus and in the spirit of our God". In other words I read
> it as three separate statements each with a different middle part. Are there
> any clearly non-adversative occurrences of "ALLA" in the NT or LXX? (By the
> way a minor issue I have with 2 Cor 7:11 is that no matter what I take
> "ALLA" to mean, and whether the list is sequential, the elements themselves
> do not make sense to me. If anyone can explain them I would be glad to hear
> your interpretation OFF-LIST, but that is the main reason I want to know the
> possible import of "ALLA", because the context is not enough for me to
> understand it.)
>
> Much thanks,
> David Lim
>
>
> On 2 June 2011 00:07, Rick Brannan <textgeek+bgreek at gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> Hi David.
>>
>> The key to understanding function words (like αλλα ALLA) is to
>> understand what function they accomplish, not to associate them with
>> an English gloss like "but". For my money, the chapter on conjunctions
>> in Steve Runge's Discourse Grammar of the Greek New Testament is the
>> best thing one can read to begin to understand the function of these
>> words and get away from gloss-substitution.
>>
>> Grammars list αλλα ALLA as primarily "adversative" but the
>> adversative-ness really comes from the context: the vast majority of
>> instances of αλλα ALLA happen in a "not this but that" or "this but
>> not that" kind of context. It's the negation in the context that makes
>> such instances seem adversative.
>>
>> A description of my understanding of αλλα ALLA can be found here:
>> http://www.supakoo.com/rick/papers, look for the one from ETS 2008.
>> Basically, I think αλλα ALLA indicates contrast, and it corrects
>> and/or replaces a preceding statement and thus causes the succeeding
>> item to be prominent. A good example is Mt 5.17, "I did not come to
>> destroy the law, but [αλλα ALLA] to fulfill it". Contrast between
>> destroy/fulfill and note the correction from 'destroy the law' to
>> 'fulfill [the law]'.
>>
>> In preparation for that paper I did evaluate the instances in 2Co 7.11
>> (also see 1Co 6.11). Here's what I thought about it at that time:
>>
>> ----
>> Each successive αλλα ALLA introduces a separate thread of contrast in
>> the overall comparison. The entire verse has one verb, κατεργάζομαι
>> KATERGAZOMAI, "bring about", which was also used in verse 10. The
>> object of the verb is σπουδή SPOUDH, "diligence". The function of each
>> αλλα ALLA is to provide contrast between "diligence" (an accusative
>> singular noun) with each item introduced by αλλα ALLA, each of which
>> are also accusative singular nouns (some masculine, some feminine).
>> The initial statement in verse 10 sets the scene; godly grief produces
>> repentance while worldly grief produces death. Paul's contention in
>> verse 10 is that the Corinthians have experienced godly grief (leading
>> to repentance), not worldly grief (leading to death). Verse 11 is his
>> evidence of the Corinthians' experience of godly grief.
>>
>> Paul shows this by contrasting the diligence or earnestness produced
>> by godly grief with other effects. Each is a separate contrast,
>> relying on the verb of the primary clause (κατεργάζομαι KATERGAZOMAI,
>> "bring about"). Diligence is contrasted with eagerness to clear
>> oneself, with indignation, with fear, with longing, with zeal, and
>> with punishment. Each of these contrasts are important to Paul's
>> argument. Recall 2Co 7.8, where Paul notes his letter grieved the
>> Corinthians, but only for a little while because their response to the
>> godly grief they experienced was repentance. This repentance drove
>> them to change their action and clear their names. While some may see
>> progress of action in the nouns used in verse 11, such progression is
>> rhetorically significant and not a component of the use of αλλα ALLA.
>> The rhetorical progression would be there whether αλλα ALLA was used
>> or not. The contribution of αλλα ALLA is in highlighting each of these
>> actions in contrast to simply being "eager" to bring about the
>> clearing of their names. Instead, they proceeded in action to clear
>> their names after coming to repentance. This is the
>> correction/replacement aspect indicated in each of the αλλα ALLA
>> instances. Paul's conclusion, that they have proven themselves
>> innocent in this matter, shows they have experienced godly grief,
>> repented, corrected themselves, and have been forgiven.
>> ---
>>
>> Hope it helps.
>>
>> Rick Brannan
>> http://www.supakoo.com/rick/ricoblog
>> http://www.pastoralepistles.com
>>
>>
>> 2011/5/31 =) <p1234567891 at gmail.com>:
>> > Dear all,
>> >
>> >
>> > Can I ask what "αλλα" in 2 Cor 7:11, Phlp 1:18, Phlp 3:8 mean? Does it
>> mean
>> > "furthermore (not only that but also)"?
>> > [2 Cor 7:11]
>> > "IDOU GAR AUTO TOUTO TO KATA QEON LUPHQHNAI UMAS POSHN KATEIRGASATO UMIN
>> > SPOUDHN ALLA APOLOGIAN ALLA AGANAKTHSIN ALLA FOBON ALLA EPIPOQHSIN ALLA
>> > ZHLON ALLA EKDIKHSIN PANTI SUNESTHSATE EAUTOUS AGNOUS EINAI EN TW
>> PRAGMATI"
>> > "ιδου γαρ αυτο τουτο το κατα θεον λυπηθηναι υμας ποσην κατειργασατο
>> >
>> υμινσπουδηναλλααπολογιαναλλααγανακτησιναλλαφοβοναλλαεπιποθησιναλλαζηλοναλλαεκδικησινπαντισυνεστησατεεαυτουςαγνουςειναιεντωπραγματι
>> > "
>> > [Phlp 1:18-19]
>> > "TI GAR PLHN PANTI TROPW EITE PROFASEI EITE ALHQEIA CRISTOS KATAGGELLETAI
>> > KAI EN TOUTW CAIRW ALLA KAI CARHSOMAI OIDA GAR OTI TOUTO MOI APOBHSETAI
>> EIS
>> > SWTHRIAN DIA THS UMWN DEHSEWS KAI EPICORHGIAS TOU PNEUMATOS IHSOU
>> CRISTOU"
>> > "τι γαρ πλην παντι τροπω ειτε προφασει ειτε αληθεια χριστος
>> > καταγγελλεταικαιεντουτωχαιρωαλλακαιχαρησομαι
>> > οιδα γαρ οτι τουτο μοι αποβησεται εις σωτηριαν δια της υμων δεησεως
>> > καιεπιχορηγιαςτουπνευματοςιησουχριστου
>> > "
>> > [Phlp 3:7-8]
>> > "ALL ATINA HN MOI KERDH TAUTA HGHMAI DIA TON CRISTON ZHMIAN ALLA MEN OUN
>> KAI
>> > HGOUMAI PANTA ZHMIAN EINAI DIA TO UPERECON THS CNWSEWS CRISTOU IHSOU TOU
>> > KURIOU MOU DI ON TA PANTA EZHMIWQHN KAI HGOUMAI SKUBALA EINAI INA CRISTON
>> > KERDHSW"
>> > "αλλ ατινα ην μοι κερδη ταυτα ηγημαι δια τον χριστον ζημιαν αλλα μεν
>> > ουν
>> καιηγουμαιπανταζημιανειναιδιατουπερεχοντηςγνωσεωςχριστουιησουτουκυριουμουδιονταπανταεζημιωθηνκαιηγουμαισκυβαλαειναιιναχριστονκερδησω
>> > "
>> >
>> > I am inclined to think that "αλλα" in Phlp 1:18 and Phlp 3:8 can be read
>> as
>> > "but", but is there a reason to consider them as not having adversative
>> > meaning? Are there any other examples of such usage in the new testament
>> or
>> > the septuagint apart from 2 Cor 7:11? Or can even 2 Cor 7:11 be
>> understood
>> > to use "αλλα" for emphasis, such as "but [also] A, but [also] B, ..." or
>> "but
>> > [what] A, but [what] B, ..." (as some translations seem to imply)?
>> >
>> >
>> > Thanks,
>> >
>> > David 



More information about the B-Greek mailing list