Expository discourse "profile"

Bryan Rocine brocine at earthlink.net
Mon Sep 27 23:11:27 EDT 1999

Hi Paul,
you wrote:
> Then, having clarified the definitions, the next step is
to determine
> the boundaries of the discourse under consideration,
right?  Based on
> the phrase KOH )FMAR YHWH, it appears as if the passage
that Rolf
> originally brought up is part of a discourse that goes
from 44:6-23.  It
> appears to be a "sub-argument" that is part of a larger
passage starting
> in 44:1.  The topic of the larger passage is the reviving
of the
> apparently dead or nearly dead Jacob/Israel, and the topic
of the
> passage under immediate consideration appears to be that
YHWH alone is
> God; there is no other.
> Does this jive with your perception of the discourse?

It depends on how the segments relate both notionally (the
text's coherence) and morpho-syntactically (the text's

In 44:1 we have a strong macro-syntactic signal `atah as
well as the imperative shema` with its elaborate vocative
and the formula koh 'amar yhvh with its elaborations of
yhvh.  These three features, taken together, create a new
beginning of a discourse in what seems to me a momentous
flourish.  The main idea that follows is hortatory in
nature: 'al tira' "fear not!"  V. 3's ki subordinates vv.
3-5 to the imperative 'al tira'.  We may consider vv. 3-5 a
Predictive Narrative which is connected upwards in support
of the imperative.  ki is used to create cohesiveness
between the imperative and the following Predictive
Narrative.  The Predictive Narrative coheres with the
imperative in that it explains why Jacob need not fear.  The
question at this point is whether a Hortatory Discourse,
begun by 'al tira' of v. 2 has ended.  We may summarize the
relationships between the segments schematically:

__ v. 1 begin Hortatory Discourse: shema`
|    v. 2 'al tira'
|      __ v. 3 begin embedded Pred. Narr.
|     |          *ki* 'etsaq
|     |          'etsaq
|     |      v. 4 vetsomxu
|     |      v. 5 zeh yo'mar
|     |           vezeh yiqra'
|     |           vezeh yiktob
|     |_____ubshem yisra'el yekaneh

In reading/hearing the text, I believe the question of
whether the Hortatory Discourse is finished adds a bit of
suspense or interest to the reading/listening experience.
The use of the formula ko 'amar yhvh indicates a new
segment, and the following verbless clauses seem to confirm
a guess that the Hortatory Discourse has indeed ended and a
new Expository Discourse has begun.  However, v. 8 repeats
the exhortation of v. 2 doubly: 'al tipxadu ve'al tirhu
"dread not! neither fear!"  Repetiton v. 2's exhortation
creates a powerful coherence over the segments that we can't
ignore.  We thereby realize that the Hortatory Discourse
that began with v. 1 continues after all, and that the
Expository Discourse of vv. 6-7  is embedded within the
Hortatory, as with the previous embedded Predictive
Narrative, to explain why Jacob should not fear.  Summary:

__vv. 1-2 Hortatory Discourse begins
|    __vv. 3-5 Embedded Pred. Narr.
|    |__
|    __vv. 6-7 Embedded Expository Disc.
|    |__
|_v. 8a 'al tipxadu ve'al tirhu

Now we have this large Expository Discourse from v. 8b to
20.  Notice how it begins with a question hayesh 'eloah
mibal`aday "Is there a god beside Me?"  Recall that
Expository Discourse answers the question "What *is*?"  So
here the discourse is actually introduced by a question of
this very type.  Shall we consider this Expository Discourse
to also be embedded within the Hortatory frame?  V. 21
indicates we should in a number of ways.  Morphologically
v.21 contains an imperative that carries on the Hortatory
mainline.  Syntactically, we have 'eleh "these," which
indicates a reference upwards to the idoloters.  And
notionally, we have the references back to Jacob and `abdi
"My servant" of v. 1.   I would say the Hortatory Discourse
ends with v. 23.  V. 24 begins afresh with the formula ko
'amar yhvh and lacks any strong morpho-syntactical or
notional ties upward.  Summary:

__vv. 1-2 Hortatory Discourse begins
|    __vv. 3-5 Embedded Pred. Narr.
|    |__
|    __vv. 6-7 Embedded Expository Disc.
|    |__
|_v. 8a 'al tipxadu ve'al tirhu
|    _vv. 8b-23 Embedded Expository Disc.
|    |___
|___________Hortatory over

Longacre and Dawson would not parse the text this way.  They
use an arsenal of paragraph types (e.g. reason paragraph,
comment paragraph, build up paragraph, etc.), which build up
to make a discourse, rather than my way of using embedding
and hosting of "sub"-discourses of various genres.  I find
their use of paragraph to be unhelpful.  The reader has to
understand the text *before* one can parse it (also den
Exter Blokland's criticism of Longacre).  Once I understand
a text, I am not interested in parsing it any longer (just
"busy work" then.  I want a parse that aids accessing the
text, and I think this model of embedding/hosting does just
that.  Do you think its helpful?


B. M. Rocine
Associate Pastor
Living Word Church
6101 Court St. Rd.
Syracuse, NY 13206

(office) 315.437.6744
(home) 315.479.8267

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