Semantic Chains and Anaphora

From: clayton stirling bartholomew (
Date: Thu Mar 18 1999 - 15:55:37 EST

I have been looking for analytical tools that might be useful for
analyzing narrative discourse structure above the level of the pericope.
The analysis of semantic chains and anaphora look like they hold some
promise in this area.

In UBS3 Luke 5:27 and Luke 5:33 are under separate topic headings but in
Luke 5:33 we read hOI DE EIPAN. In this verse hOI is an anaphoric
reference to hOI FARISAIOI KAI hOI GRAMMATEIS in Luke 5:30. This
reference ties these two segments of narrative together.

The previous example is obvious. There are many others which are less
obvious. In Luke 5:27 we read KAI META TAUTA. Is this use of TAUTA
really anaphoric? This is a tough call because in some authors (see the
Apocalypse) META TAUTA is used as a stereotyped formula which does
nothing more than introduce a new scene.

One of the intriguing questions in all this is finding clear breaks in
the semantic chains. I started in Luke 7:1 and worked my way back
through the pericopes looking for clear breaks in the chain and it
seemed somewhat difficult to find really clean breaks where there was
absolutely no backwards referencing. There are a few obvious examples
like Luke 4:14


But even in this example hUPESTREYEN serves as a semantic link to the
preceding context. So the semantic chain is not really broken.

I am speculating that what will be necessary is to discover some means
for distinguishing between levels of cohesiveness. Because in one sense
all of Luke/Acts is cohesive.

More on this later.

Clayton Stirling Bartholomew
Three Tree Point
P.O. Box 255 Seahurst WA 98062

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