Friday, November 02, 2007

New Testament Exegesis Step 6: Rhetorical Devices READING TIP

A good way to spot rhetorical devices in the text is by reading the Greek text out loud.
For example back in 1 John the text reads:

1 John 1:1
Ho a-ke-ko-a-men = that which we have heard
Ho he-or-a-ka-men = that which we have seen

then in v.3 it reads:
Ho he-or-a-ka-men = that which we have seen
kai a-ke-ko-a-men = and we have heard

When you read the whole of 1John 1:1-3 out loud, the word heorakamen stands out in a big way, it's a very interesting sounding word. When coupled with akekoamen (and with the article ho being repeated), it stands out even more, and when you hear it repeated in v.3 you straight away remember that you just heard this said in v.1. You then look at the text and see the chiasmus mentioned in Step 6:b.

I didn't used to think it was worth reading Greek out loud. In fact my Classical Greek teachers in the 90's told me to not worry about accents or pronounciation. and I followed their advice until about a year ago. Now I can see the benefit of learning not just to look at the text and understand it, but to hear it out loud, just as the recipients of the New Testament letters would have heard them read out loud.