Style Analysis

From: Kenneth Litwak (
Date: Thu Sep 14 1995 - 11:41:15 EDT


   I think I have an example of just what you may be looking for (not a
set of principles, but at least an example of such a procedure for
using style as a decisive factor in a textual decision). In Mark 6:23,
Metzger's Commentary on UBS3, argues for the reading POLLA because it is
characteristic of Markan style (1:45, 3:12, 5:10, et al). You'll note
that this leads the committee to choose to retain the word, in spite of
good external evidence against it. I know you were hoping for more like
a book-length treatment, but this is at least something. Then again,
one would have to do fairly exhaustive analysis of both a specific
book in the NT and of all Greek writing from the 1st cent. to be able
to say that xxxx is characteristic of a particular author's "style"
as opposed to just a fairly common trait of similar Greek literature.
Without a somewhat distinctive practice, like introducing every
story with a genitive absolute, for example (and Carl will no doubt
tell me that some dead Greek author I've never heard of does that all
the time) or heavy use of the future participle or something else
uncommon, I'd be very wary of attributing something to someone's style
to the degree that it could be decisive in textual decisions. That's
just my $.02 (or $.0199345 on a Pentium).

Ken Litwak
Bezerkley, CA

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