[B-Greek] Paul as Stylist

Michael Aubrey mga318 at yahoo.com
Sat Jul 3 16:19:34 EDT 2010

I find it highly questionable that any of those features could be viewed as 
"unusual" in written Greek. He hasn't read much Classical if that's the case. 
I'd say that only the sentence fragments could be used to claim such a thing, 
but even then, is such a claim necessary?

Mike Aubrey

From: Bart Ehrman <behrman at email.unc.edu>
To: b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org
Sent: Sat, July 3, 2010 9:27:34 AM
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).

      As he puts it: 

Die ‘ungefeilte Sprache’ des Paulus hat nämlich etwas auf das Papier
gebracht, was vor ihm niemand je zu Papier bringen wollte: gesprochene
Sprache; nicht unbeholfenes Schreiben in ungefügen Sätzen, wie es zahllose
Papyri bieten, sondern gesprochene Sprache eines kompetenten Sprechers mit
den typischen Erscheinungen der spontanen Rede.   (emphasis his)

      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

n  Bart Ehrman

Bart D. Ehrman

James A. Gray Professor

Department of Religious Studies

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


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