Discourse Analysis - Already but Not Yet

CWestf5155 at aol.com CWestf5155 at aol.com
Thu Aug 3 19:23:33 EDT 2000

In a message dated 8/1/00 10:27:45 PM Mountain Daylight Time, eweiss at gte.net 

 > It's great you're discussing Hebrews--in two different courses I have
 > Heb. 1:1-3:1 (in English) and provided different headings and slightly
 > different paragraph divisions.  The effect is like a shift in a
 > The mainline material of each version is different.  In both clases,
 > does a double-take. Both versions are entirely convincing because of
 > power of the headings and the paragraph breaks.  Then, we look at the
 > evidence in the Greek, and see which version has more suppport.
 Cindy: Can you give some details re: this - e.g., a listing/comparison
 of how the two courses differed verse-by-verse or paragraph-by-paragraph
 in their renderings of Hebrews 1:1-3:1, so we can see exactly what you
 saw? Thanks! >>


Sorry, I got bogged down in answering. 

Let me give a brief outline at least of two approaches to Hebrews 1:1-2:4.  
In class, I actually handed out text with headings, paragraphs & the text 
that would be mainline material in bold, which I could try to send you if you 
are interested.  But I think that it would be just as interesting to trace 
the arguments through without being led further.

Hebrews 1:1-2:4
Don't Revert to Judaism

I.  The Son is superior to the prophets (1:1-3)
II. The Son is superior to the angels (1:4-13)
III.    Warning to pay attention (2:1-4)

Hebrews 1:1-24
Let's Hang on to Our Confession

I.  God's ultimate messenger is Jesus (1:1-4)
II. Compare how God spoke to Jesus with how he spoke to (about) angels 
III.    Conclusion: Let's pay attention to what Jesus said (2:1-4)

Actually, the same sort of study was done twice.  Once, I divided the class 
in half and gave each different versions (up through 3:1) and more recently, 
I gave both versions to the entire group (1:1-2:4). 

We used the NIV text, and I only made a couple of adjustments--such as the 
position of the connective phrase DIA TOUTO in 2:1--for the second version (I 
placed it as the point of departure, as it is in the Greek text, but the NIV 
places it much later in the sentence). I also followed a small but 
significant group of scholars in the first version that placed the break 
after 1:3 because they based their structure on topic and the flow of thought.

All agreed that the basic ideas in each version were in the text, but the 
question was: which version better represented the prominent/mainline 
material?  In each version, the mainline and support material was turned 

The major considerations were issues such as (1) which version best 
represented the lexical/grammatical evidence, (2) which version better 
accounted for the material (mainline material ought to account for the 
support material); and (3) which version was most coherent (this is something 
like our topic/off-topic discussion).

I hope this is enough to get the general idea.

Cindy Westfall
PhD Student, Roehampton

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