From: George Blaisdell (email@example.com)
Date: Tue Sep 11 2001 - 15:12:44 EDT
"Be not troubling of you the heart..."
[From the Gospel of John, Chapter 14, verse 1.]
>From: "Steven R. Lo Vullo"
>George Blaisdell wrote:
> >Chiastic verbal structuring of language was common and well
> > understood in the 1st century...
>I think we are all aware, to one degree or another, of chiastic structure.
I sure wasn't until a British preacher on this list showed it to me in John
1 a few years back. We all know the palindromic words [Otto], of course,
and the cute sayings like: "Never suffer yourself to be kissed by a fool,
nor to ever be fooled by a kiss." So at that level, the level of
kindergarden novelty, I was aware, as we all probably are, of chiastic
structuring in oral language. But I can tell you I had no clue of its
pervasiveness in ancient Greek and Semitic oral cultures, and how it works
in even the syntax of sentences.
>But I fail to see what chiasm has to do with a prepositional phrase
modifying two different verbs at the same time! Don't get me wrong, if you
can show me some clear examples, I would be more than willing to consider
them. Judging from your comments above, they should be ubiquitous. But just
because it may be unclear which verb a prepositional phrase is modifying
doesn't warrant saying "both."
Indeed not. The argument was NOT from the idea of anything being unclear,
so therefore it must be both, but from the chiastic and linear structuring,
each having its own attribution, in a sentence that is Semitic. When strong
evidence supports both attributions, then perhaps we can objectively say
that both attributions are indicated??? We should find this fairly
frequently when Semitic understanding gets translated into Greek, and I am
only penny-ante on the scholastic side of this, so all I've got for you is,
as I said, my 2 cents worth...
>A couple more comments on "Western ________ " (fill in the blank). First,
>these appeals to "Western vs. Eastern" are so tired, worn out, and cliched
>as to be utterly irrelevant. They should be unceremoniously buried in a
>shallow grave along with the expression "don't go there."
Sorry to have stumbled into tired and irrelevant cliches where I shouldn't
have gone. The only way in this sentence that I can see that includes all
the evidence is to see it through what I call an eastern syntactical
perspective. [A Semiticism] There seems to be strong resistance to this
notion. I mentioned it. Sorry to have offended.
>They have simply become a prejudicial appeal that impresses only those who
>ride the same hobbyhorse. They really express a thinly veiled (though
>perhaps not always deliberate) ad hominem argument that says, "You just
>haven't been able to get beyond your cultural prejudices."
Well, we are a western culture approaching an eastern text, and we are
insisting that the attribution be singular. Chiastic structuring indicates
both the chiasm and the linear understanding, without contradiction. So
when I suggest that we move past our insistence that it be either-or, I am
in a way, I suppose, being rude to our insistence on it being our [what I
call western] way. I am suggesting that in translation of, and indeed in
our cognitive approach to, these texts that we develop a sensitivity to
their wording that is not limited to our either-or thinking. That we be
objective to the facts of the wording... The prejudices I am addressing are
cognitive, not cultural, and hopefully will be understood as such.
Either-or and both-and are cognitive categories, and these texts, when
Semitic chiasms are involved, do not reduce to either-or alone as I see
them, and this one is an example.
>What needs to be dealt with is not whether someone has an underlying
>prejudice (who doesn't?) but what the evidence is in the Greek for what is
>being defended or denied.
>Why don't we give one another the benefit of the doubt that we are all at
>least trying to keep our presuppositions and biases in check?
This one is pretty basic, for it is an epistemological bias, and I would
hope that by bringing it forth as I have that it can be looked at. I just
do not know how to bring it up in a way that will not trigger the trip wires
that will accuse me of failing to give others the benefit of the doubt
regarding their presuppositions and biases.
>Second, I think many have overlooked the fact that trying to find relevance
>in more than one perspective at the same time, whatever its status in the
What does ANE stand for?
>is itself a thoroughly modern idea, very popular in "Western" nations
right now. People who eschew "either/or" thinking are praised as
"enlightened" and are celebrated as "open minded." So let's not think that
such a perspective when applied to the Greek text may not itself express a
modern cultural bias.
Yes, there is a whole reactive bias here to the either-or mind that extolls
the virtues of all-inclusive both-and thinking, and suffers the same generic
blindness that plagues its opponent. Objectivity is the key, perhaps...
I first learned this bi-sociative approach some 30-35 years ago in Greek 101
at SDSU under Dr. Warren. It involves reading the text as word groupings,
each grouping being a whole, having a central word that the grouping is
about, and moving from center to center in understanding the text. So a
word in a sentence can associate with the word before it and the word after
it, and usually does, even if not grammatically connected, say, by case.
Greek has case markers to keep that fairly straight, whereas in English we
rely on word order.
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