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Thread: How to search for supressed imperatives after the prohibitive mh(Greek font)

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    Default How to search for supressed imperatives after the prohibitive mh(Greek font)

    Background: Lightfoot says that in Phil 2:3 "the verb is suppressed, as is very frequently the case in imperative sentences after mh." In his comment on Gal 5:13 where it is clear that an imperative is suppressed, Lightfoot further states, "The omission of the verb after the prohibitive mh is common in classical writers..." So is this common in the NT, or just Classical? To find out I have the following question....

    Question: how would one search to find NT verses where the imperative is suppressed after
    mh? A search that includes the forms of mh linked by OR and then does not contain a proper verb within a couple of words after mh would be a good approximation, but I can't figure out how to do this.

  2. #2
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    I really do not think there is any way to do this.

    Lightfoot apparently uses the term "suppressed imperative" differently from Wallace. Wallace uses this term to refer to a verb that is imperative in form, but loses its imperative force in context. By "suppressed imperative," Lightfoot means there is not actually an imperative verb in the passage, but is implied by the context. In Phil. 2:3, "Let...be done" must be supplied to give the sense. I do not know any way you could search for something that isn't there. You could search </μη μηδεις>, adding not to have an imperative verb <!@vd*>. So <(/μη μηδεις)!*@vd*. But that will give you an enormous amount of results to sort through, not limited to suppressed imperatives as defined by Lightfoot.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by ddinnsen View Post
    Question: how would one search to find NT verses where the imperative is suppressed after mh? A search that includes the forms of mh linked by OR and then does not contain a proper verb within a couple of words after mh would be a good approximation, but I can't figure out how to do this.
    This is not going to give you exactly what you're looking for, but it may help you to conceptualize exactly what you want to do. Make sure either GNM or SCM is your search version. I used SCM for the following, but I think the codes will be the same. On the CL type --

    ('mh *@*)!('mh *@v*)

    and then press enter.

    This will give you a simple results list which lists all instances where mh is NOT followed by a verb.

    That's all it does. It does not give you instances where a verb might be one or two words removed from mh, nor does it make a distinction between any imperatives, or forms, and so forth.

    What it does is perhaps give you an idea of the direction you want to go since you are apparently not sure how to get started.

    In order to fully do what you want to do, you may have to resort to the GSE, and if you want an example of how the above might look in the GSE, just type the same search string on the CL above, but instead of pressing enter, open the GSE and the identical search will automatically be loaded into that.

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    Yes, it is a challenge to search for something that is not there! And yes, Lightfoot is using the term differently than Wallace. I'm thinking the best way is to use the Graphical search engine find all the instances of mh(Greek font) with no verb occurring within a couple of words proximity, but I cannot figure out how to do it.

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    Attached is my start on the query, but I can't quite get it to work. The verbs commonly used with mh are imperative, subjunctive or infinitives, so when the verb is suppressed I expect there NOT to be one of these forms within a few words following mh. Anyone know how to get this query to work?
    Attached Files Attached Files

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    Quote Originally Posted by ddinnsen View Post
    Attached is my start on the query, but I can't quite get it to work. The verbs commonly used with mh are imperative, subjunctive or infinitives, so when the verb is suppressed I expect there NOT to be one of these forms within a few words following mh. Anyone know how to get this query to work?
    How do you open the attachment? I'm not familiar with ".qf."

  7. #7
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    This is a Bibleworks graphical Query File that can be opened with the Bibleworks graphical query editor.

  8. #8

    Default This is the search you want...

    ... to get you started at least.
    I spent some time in the Help file, and it seems to me that I should have been able to accomplish what I want using a Range Filter, but I couldn't make it work. So, here's the logic I came up with:
    1: search for all instance of μη OR μηδε.
    2: repeat that μη OR μηδε search but indicate that within "at most 4" words (and this is an arbitrary number; choose whatever number you want) there is a verb that is an imperative, subjunctive, or infinitive. Note that using this coding does the trick: *@v[dsn]* You don't have to search for each form separately.
    I group all these words in the #2 search with an AND, and I designate that it is a subquery.

    Now what I want is all the instances in #1 but omit all the instances in #2. To do so, note the addition of an NOT AND box before joining 1 and 2 with an AND box.

    You should now be able to tweak this further. For example, this search picks up a lot of participles being negated. If you want to omit those, add a "p" in the [dsn] grouping. You might also want to extend the "at most" range. For example, one hit is Mat 5.30, but the subjunctive is 7 words away.
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    Last edited by MGVH; 10-02-2010 at 10:51 PM.
    Mark G. Vitalis Hoffman
    Professor of Biblical Studies
    Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg
    ltsg.edu - CrossMarks.com
    Biblical Studies and Technological Tools

  9. #9
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    You rock, MGVH! This got me going! I modified it a bit since the occurrences seem to only be nouns and participles. I have determined that it is not really that common in Koine, so I believe Lightfoot was saying that it is common in Classical Greek. the only other clear occurrence in Paul besides Gal 5:13, which Lightfoot cites, is Rom. 12:19, and possibly 2 Co. 4:18, this verse and Phil. 2:4. James does not omit any imperatives after mh. The LXX Pentateuch has the following instances Lev. 19:13; Deut. 4:19; Deut. 20:19; Deut. 22:1.

    My updated query is attached.
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