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Life of Π


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#1 jkgayle

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Posted 08 January 2018 - 07:09 AM

The opener to the sermon on the mount, the beatitudes, seems full of play on words and on letters and sounds. The letter Π / π helps it all come to life. And so do repetitions of phrase-initial letters Κ / κ and Δ / δ. In verse 7 there's the repeated  ΕΛΕΗ-/ ελεη-. By highlighting with the uppercase, let's see if we can illustrate the prominence of this feature. 

 

What effect on us the reader/ audience does this poetic alliteration have?

 

3 μακάριοι οἱ Πτωχοὶ τῷ Πνεύματι,
ὅτι αὐτῶν ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν.
4 μακάριοι οἱ Πενθοῦντες,
ὅτι αὐτοὶ ΠαραΚληθήσονται.
5 μακάριοι οἱ Πραεῖς,
ὅτι αὐτοὶ Κληρονομήσουσιν τὴν γῆν.
6 μακάριοι οἱ Πεινῶντες
καὶ Διψῶντες τὴν Δικαιοσύνην,
ὅτι αὐτοὶ χορτασθήσονται.
7 μακάριοι οἱ ΕΛΕΗμονες,
ὅτι αὐτοὶ ΕΛΕΗθήσονται.
8 μακάριοι οἱ Καθαροὶ τῇ Καρδίᾳ,
ὅτι αὐτοὶ τὸν θεὸν ὄψονται.
9 μακάριοι οἱ εἰρηνο Ποιοί,
ὅτι αὐτοὶ υἱοὶ θεοῦ Κληθήσονται.
10 μακάριοι οἱ Δεδιωγμένοι ἕνεκεν Δικαιοσύνης,
ὅτι αὐτῶν ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν.
11 μακάριοί ἐστε ὅταν ὀνειδίσωσιν ὑμᾶς
καὶ Διώξωσιν
καὶ εἴΠωσιν Πᾶν Πονηρὸν καθ᾿ ὑμῶν [ψευδόμενοι] ἕνεκεν ἐμοῦ. 
12 χαίρετε καὶ ἀγαλλιᾶσθε,
ὅτι ὁ μισθὸς ὑμῶν Πολὺς ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς·
οὕτως γὰρ ἐδίωξαν τοὺς Προφήτας τοὺς Πρὸ ὑμῶν.

Edited by jkgayle, 08 January 2018 - 07:12 AM.


#2 Abram K-J

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Posted 08 January 2018 - 10:26 AM

It also seems that the repeated μακάριοι οἱ Π in verses 3-6 would lead the hearer to expect the same in what is verse 7. So the μακάριοι οἱ ΕΛΕΗμονες.... maybe stands out even more, especially with the ΕΛΕΗ repeated.


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#3 jkgayle

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 06:16 AM

I posted this in a fb group whose members look at these sorts of things. Here are some responses:

[It's to] "Aid to retention/memorization."

"Craig Keener notes the patterns in his socio rhetorical commentary on Matthew. Especially, the opening three or four “blessed is the one who...” using the Greek consonant “π” followed by a comment on righteousness. Then, the next couple verses/beatitudes follow with another comment on righteousness."

"Looks like a chiastic structure, common in Hebrew. Here it doesn't seem to fit perfectly but the structure is apparent."

"Along with some preceding verses, I typed the words you have above into a spreadsheet of grid-squares, placing each letter in its own square - Then I marked the end-letter of each word - Then I saw another kind of pattern centered on verse seven - I will attempt to post a jpg of what I found "

"Perhaps there is some connection between the alliteration structure that you found and the symmetrical structure built into the lengths of the words"


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#4 A. Smith

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 09:47 AM

One issue when looking at the structure of beatitudes is to determine the limits. If you include vv 11-12 (despite the verb and structure change) you keep some sort of phonetic balance. However, if you confine the structure to vs 10 you keep the inclusio. With the inclusion you have a slightly off balance chiasmus hinging on vs 7. If the beatitudes are more than a composition of Matthew and his text goes back to an oral source, I think it's understandable for the rhetorical flourishes to be less than precise. Either way, as I said on FB, I think there's good reason to see this as an aid to listening and retention. These sorts of things are common in Jewish lit and teachers used them to help their disciples learn and remember what was said. Sort of like we would us powerpoint or handouts. Pennington is one of the more recent advocates of this sort of thing in the SOM specifically.


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#5 A. Smith

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Posted 09 February 2018 - 09:11 AM

Sorry to resurrect an old thread. I've finally got a chance to get back, lol.

A few additional observations. If you break the beatitudes at vs 10 as I suggested above, you retain the chiasm.

 
A Μακάριοι οἱ πτωχοὶ τῷ πνεύματι, ὅτι αὐτῶν ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν.
    B μακάριοι οἱ πενθοῦντες, ὅτι αὐτοὶ παρακληθήσονται.
         C μακάριοι οἱ πραεῖς, ὅτι αὐτοὶ κληρονομήσουσιν τὴν γῆν.
                 D μακάριοι οἱ πεινῶντες καὶ διψῶντες τὴν δικαιοσύνην, ὅτι αὐτοὶ χορτασθήσονται.
                 D' μακάριοι οἱ ἐλεήμονες, ὅτι αὐτοὶ ἐλεηθήσονται.
         C' μακάριοι οἱ καθαροὶ τῇ καρδίᾳ, ὅτι αὐτοὶ τὸν θεὸν ὄψονται.
    B' μακάριοι οἱ εἰρηνοποιοί, ὅτι αὐτοὶ υἱοὶ θεοῦ κληθήσονται.
A' μακάριοι οἱ δεδιωγμένοι ἕνεκεν δικαιοσύνης, ὅτι αὐτῶν ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν.” (Μαθθαῖον 5·3-10 GNT28-T)
 

The chiasm is framed, obviously, by ὅτι αὐτῶν ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν. Additionally, within this structure, δικαιοσύνης occurs at the end of both halves of the chiasm (nos 4 and 8). The first half concerns attitudes toward God; the second half attitudes toward others. This could be seen as a variation on the great commandment, love God (first), love your neighbor as yourself (second). With Matthew's sub-theme of righteousness, it's possible that, by structuring as he did, he's set up righteousness as the goal and/or result of both. I also enjoy seeing a slight play into his 'New Moses' typology here. As Moses ascended the mountain to receive divine instruction, Jesus ascends the mountain (only in Matthew) to give divine instruction. Jesus is the one like Moses, but greater. He assumes the position of God in the typology. Therefore, on the mountain, he gives the law of God (Deut 6, love God; Lev 19, love your neighbor). 


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Anthony Smith
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#6 A. Smith

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Posted 09 February 2018 - 01:18 PM

For some reason, I can’t edit the post. Chiasm is not the right word. More of
A balanced pair. Here’s how I would reword the original:

If you break the beatitudes at vs 10 you see a balanced structure in two halves (A and B ) and keep the inclusio.

A Μακάριοι οἱ πτωχοὶ τῷ πνεύματι, ὅτι αὐτῶν ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν. Blessed are the poor in spirit . .
μακάριοι οἱ πενθοῦντες, ὅτι αὐτοὶ παρακληθήσονται.
μακάριοι οἱ πραεῖς, ὅτι αὐτοὶ κληρονομήσουσιν τὴν γῆν. Blessed are the meek . . .
μακάριοι οἱ πεινῶντες καὶ διψῶντες τὴν δικαιοσύνην, ὅτι αὐτοὶ χορτασθήσονται. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst . . .

B μακάριοι οἱ ἐλεήμονες, ὅτι αὐτοὶ ἐλεηθήσονται.
μακάριοι οἱ καθαροὶ τῇ καρδίᾳ, ὅτι αὐτοὶ τὸν θεὸν ὄψονται. Blessed are the pure in heart . . .
μακάριοι οἱ εἰρηνοποιοί, ὅτι αὐτοὶ υἱοὶ θεοῦ κληθήσονται. Blessed are the peacemakers . . .
μακάριοι οἱ δεδιωγμένοι ἕνεκεν δικαιοσύνης, ὅτι αὐτῶν ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν.” Blessed are those persecuted . . . (Μαθθαῖον 5·3-10 GNT28-T)

The structure is framed, obviously, by ὅτι αὐτῶν ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν (theirs is the kingdom). Additionally, within this structure, δικαιοσύνης (righteousness) occurs at the end of both halves of the structure (nos 4 and 8 ). The first half (A) concerns attitudes toward God; the second half (B) attitudes toward others. This could be seen as a variation on the great commandment, love God (first), love your neighbor as yourself (second). With Matthew's sub-theme of righteousness, it's possible that, by structuring as he did, he's set up righteousness as the goal and/or result of both.

I also enjoy seeing a slight play into his 'New Moses' typology here. As Moses ascended the mountain to *receive* divine instruction, Jesus ascends the mountain (only in Matthew) to *give* divine instruction. Jesus is the one like Moses, but greater. He assumes the position of God in the typology. Therefore, on the mountain, he gives the law of God (Deut 6, love God; Lev 19, love your neighbor).
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Anthony Smith
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