[B-Greek] Chiastic Structure in Philemon 5

Alex Poulos apviper at gmail.com
Fri Oct 30 13:38:09 EDT 2009


Hello B-Greekers, I have a question about Chiastic structure in Philemon 5.
Here's the Greek text and an attempted transliteration:

ἀκούων σου τὴν ἀγάπην καὶ τὴν πίστιν ἣν ἔχεις πρὸς τὸν κύριον Ἰησοῦν καὶ εἰς
πάντας τοὺς ἁγίους
AKOUWN SOU THN AGAPHN KAI THN PISTIN HN ECEIS PROS TON KURION IESOUN KAI EIS
PANTAS TOUS AGIOUS
Philemon 5

My question concerns chiastic structure, which seems to be the basis for
most modern translations rendering it something like this:
"I hear about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the
saints."
However, I've only seen this shown as an example of chiastic structure, and
not explained.  If PISTIS is understood as solely faith in Christ, then I
can understand why chiastic structure is necessary, but if PISTIS includes a
larger sense like faithfulness, then might AGAPHN and PISTIN refer to both
the saints and to Jesus?  I'm sure there are good reasons to interpret it
according to the chiastic structure with an A B B A pairing, but to a Greek
newbie and ancient literature neophyte it seems rather arbitrary and out of
place, especially for a personal letter.

Thanks!

Alex Poulos



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