[B-Greek] Word order, prominence, and Acts 28:31

Mike Sangrey MSangrey at BlueFeltHat.org
Fri Jul 1 09:08:24 EDT 2005

On Thu, 2005-06-30 at 20:19 +0200, Iver Larsen wrote:
> Hi again, Mike.
> I don't think that you will be surprised that I have a different pragmatic
> reading of this verse - and consequently a different translation. (I am
> quite happy with the NLT here: proclaiming the Kingdom of God with all
> boldness and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ. And no one tried to stop
> him.)

You're right, I'm not surprised; however, why I'm not surprised is not
obvious.  I think you'll be surprised when I say I agree with what you
say below.  In fact, in the original composition of my posting I had
said much the same thing; I deleted the paragraphs referencing the theme
of Acts because I wanted some others to help me think.  So, I completely
agree that the theme of Acts is as you say.  Also, I agree that when a
closing statement references the theme, the phrase used must have
substantial impact.

I chose this sentence because I think the discussion needs to wrestle
with some of the fundamental issues we have with what prominence is.

What I'm trying to do is get a better handle on what appears to me to be
different kinds of saliency.  There is a prominence to the thematic
statement.  There's also a prominence to the very last words.  It seems
to me that these two pieces of text are not salient in the same sense.
So, I seriously wonder about the validity of comparing the saliency of
each to the other and saying the one is more salient than the other. In
fact, as I'm now thinking about this it appears to me that the thematic
statement here has a global saliency and the prepositional phrase has a
local saliency.  However, it appears to me that the global saliency is
stronger WHEN LOOKED AT GLOBALLY (in a pragmatic sense).  But, the
prepositional phrase exhibits stronger saliency when viewed LOCALLY.

> > Acts 28:31
> >
> I think it is important that this is the closing verse of the book. In such
> a closing, what receives prominence is a reference to the theme of the book.
> And that theme is about "preaching the gospel" and "teaching the things
> about Jesus Christ, the Lord."
> In the opening to the book (1:3) Jesus is speaking to the disciples "about
> the things of God's Kingdom". He had asked his disciples to spread those
> news of the Kingdom.
> In Acts 8:12 we have Philip "evangelizing about the Kingdom of God and the
> name(character) of Jesus Christ".
> In 19:8 Paul is "SPEAKING BOLDLY (in emphatic position here) for three
> months, debating and persuading them about the kingdom of God."
> In 20:25 Paul is remembering how he "went around proclaiming the Kingdom".
> In 28:23 Paul is again "testifying to the Kingdom of God, (trying to)
> persuade them about Jesus".
> Because this preaching, testifying, persuading and teaching about the
> Kingdom of God and the lordship of Jesus Christ is the main theme in Acts,
> it is fitting that the two concepts should still be prominent in this
> closing verse.
> I am not saying that the last words about the boldness and unhinderedness
> are not prominent, but I do think that preaching of the Kingdom is
> *relatively* more prominent in order to keep the reader's mind on the
> important theme of the book. Paul always spoke with boldness. The
> unhinderedness supports the "two year period" in v. 30. I am not sure how
> unexpected it is, but I don't think in terms of unexpected only.
> Predictability is only one of several parameters. I am more interested in
> what the author apparently intends to give prominence, and here it seems to
> be the continued preaching of the Kingdom.
> (Was Luke urging his readers to continue to have focus on such preaching?)
> Iver Larsen
Mike Sangrey
msangrey AT BlueFeltHat.org
Landisburg, Pa.
                        "The first one last wins."
            "A net of highly cohesive details reveals the truth."

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