[b-greek] Re: Great Divide

From: Ilvgrammta@aol.com
Date: Wed Sep 20 2000 - 07:59:15 EDT

In a message dated 00-09-20 00:16:13 EDT, c.s.bartholomew@worldnet.att.net

<< The major semantic and pragmatic goals of an author/text can be grasped
 in an ancient language text without recourse to a lot of low level analysis.
 Why? Because natural language texts are typically very very redundant. When
 Paul wants to say something in a letter he often says it several different
 times in several different ways. You can discover Paul's semantic and
 pragmatic goals by reading the whole letter or more than one letter and you
 can gain this understanding without giving a lot of attention to low level
 formal language features. >>


I know that we have had our differences over this issue and that we too are
separated by galactic clusters and superclusters when it comes to the study
of language and literary texts. But I assure you that I have tried the
approach you suggest and it did not yield the results I was looking for, in
my opinion. Furthermore, I have read a number of discourse treatments dealing
with various books of the Bible and most of the papers I have read either, in
trying to avoid low-level analysis, do not answers the questions that I have
concerning the text or come to the same conclusion that I have arrived at
using low-level analysis. On particular essay I have in mind is Robert
Longacre's essay entitled "Towards an Exegesis of 1 John Based on Discourse
Analysis of the Greek Text."

In this paper, Longacre concludes that 1 John's message is clear. The Epistle
is basically telling us that being a Christian requires both "doctrinal and
ethical commitments" and it also requires belief in Jesus as the Son of God
and true Christianity also demands that true Christians love one another and

While I think that Longacre's discourse treatment is definitely valuable and
well-written--I could have (and I have!) gleaned all of the aforementioned
without analyzing the macrostructure of the text. And Longacre is but one
example that I could cite in this regard. So while I am not denigrating in
any way, discourse-analysis, I am militating against those who want to
downplay low-level analysis.

Lastly, while writers can be redundant, I have also observed another
linguistic phenomenon when reading great works of literature. A number of
writers also purposely try to avoid redundancy. How do we deal with these
kind of books?

Edgar Foster

B-Greek home page: http://metalab.unc.edu/bgreek
You are currently subscribed to b-greek as: [jwrobie@mindspring.com]
To unsubscribe, forward this message to leave-b-greek-327Q@franklin.oit.unc.edu
To subscribe, send a message to subscribe-b-greek@franklin.oit.unc.edu

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:36:36 EDT