Re: Style analysis

From: Bruce Terry (
Date: Sun Sep 17 1995 - 15:11:06 EDT

On Wed, 13 Sep 95, Mark O'Brien responded to my post that in evaluating style
a major consideration must be the type of text (narrative, expository,
hortatory, persuasive, procedural):

>This is, of course, a good point. Would you expect a particular author to be
>consistent within each of these types? For example, if Paul writes some
>expository material in Galatians, would you expect his style to remain
>reasonably (whatever that means!) consistent if he did the same thing in
>Romans? Similarly, would you expect Luke's narrative style in his gospel to be
>necessarily consistent with his narrative style in Acts?

The answer to all three questions is no. My dissertation research showed that
Paul uses two different statistically-significant styles in 1 Corinthians in
responding to the Corinthians' letter and in reacting to oral reports about
them which he had received. In addition, there was a statistically-
significant shift in style between the bulk of the letter and the peak (12-15),
apparently marking what I have called epistolary climax. See my dissertation
and/or book on this. The style of a letter is to some extent due to the
rhetorical situation in which the author is composing the letter. Obviously,
answering people's questions and pointing out problems which they have that
they haven't told a writer about are two different situations. At this
point, not enough research has been done to know what kinds of shifts in style
to expect to occur with different rhetorical situations and between letters.
I would hypothesize that letters written at similar times in similar
situations would substantially share the same style.

Commentators have often noted that the first two chapters of Luke are in a
different style than the rest of the book. They are said to be in the style
of the LXX.

Bruce Terry E-MAIL:
Box 8426, ACU Station Phone: 915/674-3759
Abilene, Texas 79699 Fax: 915/674-3769

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