Biblical Rhetoric and the Relative Pronoun

c stirling bartholomew cc.constantine at
Tue Oct 30 14:10:26 EST 2001

R. Meynet* suggests that the biblical exegete often comes to grief by trying
to apply the principles of classical rhetoric to biblical texts. He argues
that biblical rhetoric has a logic all its own which cannot be understood by
applying the norms of classical rhetoric. This has implications for how we
perceive the role of the relative pronoun in the argumentation of the

A while back Iver and others explained how the Greek relative pronoun can be
used to link constituents which do not have a hypotatic relationship.  Are
there cases where the relative pronoun is used in argumentation where the
sense is difficult to unpack if the relative pronoun is understood as
introducing a subordinate constituent, but the structure becomes clear when
the presuppositions of classical rhetoric are abandoned and replaced with a
different discourse model?

In other words, can a Hebraic discourse model be dressed in a Greek garment
including what looks to the untrained eye like hypotactic constructions but
the trained eye will see that the relative pronoun is not in fact being used
to subordinate? 

Please note, this question does not have to do with narrative. It is limited
in scope to the argumentation within the epistles. We have already discussed
how the relative pronoun is used in narrative as a marker of continuation.
This is a completely different topic.

This may seem like a vague question. I suspect that it will make sense to
one or two people on this list. Rather than try and clarify it further I
will just see if those one or two people are willing to respond.



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

*Meynet, Roland, Rhetorical analysis : an introduction to biblical rhetoric
Sheffield Academic Press, c1998. See chapter 4, Presuppositions of
Rhetorical analysis pp. 168-181.  

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