Re: Jn 21:15-17 (and getting woollier..)

From: Nicholas Corduan (
Date: Fri Apr 17 1998 - 14:13:02 EDT


> think of adding a jot or tittle to it. On my own behalf I would only say
> that the author of John was smart enough to realize that he used different
> words in this story. How much smarter we must be if we tell him that he
> meant only one thing when he used two words!!!

As an author myself, I must confess to a little bit of bewilderment at
statements like this. It is part of good writing to use synonyms and to
vary your vocabulary. Repetition of written words has the same result as
speaking in a monotone: it bores the readers to sleep; they start to skim,
to skip over parts of what you're saying; they lose interest. Therefore,
you use synonyms. Sometimes you are going for nuances, certainly, but
more often than not, the nuanaces are irrelevant: you're simply trying to
create something which is pleasing to read.

For instance, there are different nuances to the english words, "ask,"
and, "request." If I were writing a dialogue, however, and one person
kept posing question, I would probably throw in a lot of different verbs:

"....?" he asked.
"....?" Karl requested.
His father posed him this question: "....?"

There are different nuances, different flavors to the verbs there, but my
intended meanings are all the same. And, yes, as an author I would then
be smart enough to realize that I'd used three different phraseologies,
but you as readers would not have to be smarter than me, only as smart as
me, to understand that I really meant the same thing.

Just a note from the persepctive of someone under the same magnifying
glass as the author of John.


Nick Corduan                 "...there is as much dignity in tilling
     at                       a field as in writing a poem."
(                           --Booker T. Washington

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