Peculiar Word Order
maqhth at hotmail.com
Tue Apr 27 09:59:26 EDT 1999
>George, thanks for your comments. But is this
>principle of enclosure well investigated and
>demonstrated sufficiently? I feel like it is
>too orderly and too systematic for a human language.
I am certainly no scholar, so I cannot refer you to published works
that investigate and demonstrate this understanding sufficiently.
What I can tell you is that if you look at Greek word order through
its lens, it simply makes the 'strangeness' [to us] of that word order
become very intelligible, and seems to do no violence to the meaning
of the passages.
There is, however, a large literature on chiasmus, which this
understanding reflects, but applies it syntactically to word order in
ordinary sentences rather than thematically to larger chunks of
material. The "Cast not your pearls before swine..." pericope is a
very quintessential literary illustration of the principle.
I believe that Greek thinking simply works this way, moving from
center to center, with each center enclosed with what the author wants
to say regarding it, and that the word order will [usually] reflect
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