LimitedNegatives?

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mattrose
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Re: LimitedNegatives?

Post by mattrose » Mon Sep 24, 2012 10:19 am

A couple more potential limited negatives for our consideration



This seems indisputable to me. It surely means let us not love MERELY in word or in tongue, but ALSO in deed and in truth.



This one is more controversial, but is being suggested in the commentary I was just reading. He states that Jesus is saying "Yes, Mary is blessed.... but much more blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it."

Objection to this will point out the word 'rather' which sounds like it militates against our 'limited negative' idea... but in the footnote he references Moule as suggesting that 'much more' or 'yes, but' is the best translation in this case. I would put this is the 'possible' category.

EDIT... I see the NKJV (of the blockquote) already translated it into a limited negative! I'll have to look at the greek later to see if it (NKJV) or the NIV's "blessed rather" is more literal.

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Paidion
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Re: LimitedNegatives?

Post by Paidion » Mon Sep 24, 2012 5:11 pm

Yes, Matt. I John 3:18 is clearly a limited negative.

But in your other example, there is no negative — limited or not.
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mattrose
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Re: LimitedNegatives?

Post by mattrose » Mon Sep 24, 2012 5:33 pm

Paidion... did you check the Greek? I was working out of the NIV which used the word 'rather'... Rather, it seems, suggests that the previous thing is now considered negatively

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Re: LimitedNegatives?

Post by Paidion » Mon Sep 24, 2012 6:05 pm

I still don't see it.

It's true that a good thing is being compared with a greater thing. But there just is no negative word such as "not" in your first example. "Let us not love in word or in tongue" would not be a good command to carry out if it stood alone. When "but in deed and in truth" is added, it loses its innate negativity and becomes what Steve termed "a limited negative."

But in the second example, there is no negative in the woman's statement, "“Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!”

It's true that if you translate ὑπηχον as "rather" instead of "more than that", you might assume that Jesus implied that the woman's statement was false rather than merely something less. Notwithstanding, there must be a negative word such as "not" in a statement or command in order to have a negative, and you need a negative in order to have a limited negative.
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Re: LimitedNegatives?

Post by steve » Mon Sep 24, 2012 6:22 pm

Hi Paidion,

Matt acknowledged that the second case might be questionable and it is.

It is just possible, though, that (though stated less explicitly than some cases) Jesus' words to the woman meant, "Not only that (implied), but this too." It is true that He did not necessarily include the word of negation (although "rather"—if that is the better translation—could be taken as a negative, meaning "not this, but that").

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Re: LimitedNegatives?

Post by Paidion » Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:48 pm

Thank you Steve for helping me to understand how Matt took this to be a possible limited negative, in that the negative though not explicitly stated may be understood as meant.

I, myself, always took a limited negative to be a command in the following or similar form:

"Do not do this, but do that" where it was actually meant, "Do not do this only, but also that" or "Do not limit yourself to doing this, but also do that.
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Re: LimitedNegatives?

Post by steve » Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:17 pm

Well, you are right in that, I think, we have limited our limited negatives heretofore to the type you mentioned.

I guess, though, that other kinds of negatives (besides imperatives) could be limited as well—we just hadn't explored that here previously.

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mattrose
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Re: LimitedNegatives?

Post by mattrose » Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:45 pm

I guess I was thinking more along the lines of how that latter passage is interpreted by protestants...

"Don't focus on Mary....focus on hearing and obeying Jesus' words"

Protestants would generally have no problem wih this interpretation/application of the passage

But Roman Catholics may interpret/apply it with the same PRINCIPLE we are using on the limited negatives

"Don't ONLY focus on Mary... focus ALSO on hearing and obeying Jesus' words"

But I agree with you guys, for the purpose of continuing to develop our list, it would be better to stick to statement that are stated commands in concrete 'limited negative' form.

I'll continue to add to this list b/c, at some point, I think it would make a neat little individual bible study.

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Re: LimitedNegatives?

Post by steve » Tue Sep 25, 2012 7:26 am

While you're at it, let me know if you run across anyone besides us who uses the label "limited negatives" for this construction. I am still not sure where I first heard it used.

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Re: LimitedNegatives?

Post by Paidion » Wed Sep 26, 2012 10:11 am

Steve, possibly you encountered the term "limited negatives" in a philosophical discussion concerning the proposition that "you can't prove a negative." For example, many or most people would affirm that it is impossible to prove that God doesn't exist, even if it is true that He doesn't, just as it it impossible to prove that unicorns have never existed. Others say you can prove a negative. For example you can prove that a light is not on in a room by observing that the room is totally dark. In one online discussion, a person tried to resolve the matter by saying that while you cannot prove a universal negative, limited negatives can be proved.
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