Re: BLEPW & hORAW MK 8:23-24

From: clayton stirling bartholomew (
Date: Mon Jun 19 2000 - 22:41:50 EDT

on 06/19/00 3:56 PM, Mike Sangrey wrote:

> I've come to appreciate (rather quickly I might add) a method which
> exegetes from left to right. In other words, one performs exegesis as
> one works through the text, one word at a time, working from beginning to
> the end.


There are artificial languages (e.g. machine languages) which can be
"understood" by reading one token at at time in one pass reading left to
right. But I think this approach will lead you to a dead end when applied to
a natural language. You can work left to right but you will need to make
multiple passes. This is a topic I haven't thought much about in the last
decade. I gave it a lot of thought in the mid 80's but that was a long time

>One does not first try to find the verb, diagram the sentence
> around the verb and work from there. That too strongly encourages a
> word oriented approach which is disconnected from the context WHICH THE

Actually diagramming a clause or higher level constituent is IMHO a way to
AVOID the word centered approach. When you diagram a clause or higher level
constituent, the very process of building the diagram forces you to analyze
relationships between the constituents. The analysis of relationships
between constituents at several levels (phrase, clause, paragraph,
discourse) is the antithesis of the approach which tries to find the meaning
of a constituent by doing all sorts of fanciful speculation about the
meaning of a few key words in the constituent. Lexical semantic analysis is
not the real villain. The expectation that lexical semantic analysis can do
the whole job or most of the job of exposing the message in the text is the
real villain.

Lexical semantic analysis is a valuable and necessary activity and when done
well makes a significant contribution to the understanding of a text.
However when a biblical language neophyte picks of a "word study dictionary"
and launches off to do some "exegesis" I don't think that their primary
focus is going to be the analysis of the relationships between constituents
at all levels of the discourse. They are just going to dig in and study
some words. Meanwhile the meaning of the TEXT will continue to remain and
enigma to them since it will never be discovered in this manner.


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

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