[B-Greek] Paul as Stylist

Barry nebarry at verizon.net
Sat Jul 3 14:25:55 EDT 2010

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Bart Ehrman" <behrman at email.unc.edu>
To: <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Saturday, July 03, 2010 12:27 PM
Subject: [B-Greek] Paul as Stylist

>Apologies if this issue has been broached on the list before. Marius
>Reiser, in his article "Paulus als Stilist" (SEÅ 66 [2001] 157) tries to
>explain Paul's unusual Greek, characterized by hyperbata (which he defines
>specifically as forms of parentheses), anacoloutha , and incomplete
>sentences, by claiming that it is representative of spoken rather than
>written Greek.  Moreover, he insists that Paul is the first author of
>record to have written texts as if he were speaking them (different from
>anything in the papyri he insists; different from dictated letters;
>different from speeches of rhetoricians; and so on).

[Funny foreign words omitted...]

>I'd be very interested in any reactions/responses to this claim.  (For what
>it's worth Armin Baum uses it to explain why the Greek of the Pastorals -
>which he takes to be authentic -- differs from that of the "undisputed"
>Paulines: the Pastorals were planned as written texts and are not
>"Paul-as-if-speaking."   But that view, I think, is less relevant to the NT
>Greek list.  I'm interested in the stylistic claim of Reiser in se).  Many

Although I can't give you a biblio off the top of my head, the idea that
Paul modeled his letters after his "preaching" is not a new idea.  But with
regard to style, I'm not so sure here.   The phenomena mentioned above
certainly occur in Paul, but they do so in the context of other literary
devices which seem to indicate that Paul was not simply writing as though he
were speaking.  The analysis would have to include the probable effect of
the literary devices mentioned in their context.  Plenty of ancient authors
use "hyperbata, anacoloutha, and incomplete sentences," but no one accuses
them of writing as they would speak.

N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Classics and Bible Instructor, TAA
(2010 Savatori Excellence in Education Winner)
Mentor, TNARS


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