Luke 18:11 -- Iver Larsen's suggestion

George Blaisdell maqhth at
Tue Sep 11 15:12:44 EDT 2001

George Blaisdell
Roslyn, WA

"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.

Utterly agreed...

>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.

Gotta run...


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