Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Anaphora and Holy Scripture

The SIL Glossary of Linguistic Terms defines anaphora this way:

"Anaphora is coreference of one expression with its antecedent. The antecedent provides the information necessary for the expression's interpretation. This is often understood as an expression 'referring' back to the antecedent."

The American Heritage Dictionary points out that the term "anaphora" can also refer to "The deliberate repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of several successive verses, clauses, or paragraphs; for example, 'We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills' (Winston S. Churchill)."

Knowing about anaphora is important since Bible writers such as Paul evidently make use of this literary device (rhetorical trope) when penning their inspired letters to primitive congregations that obtained under the suzerainty of Roman rule.

The longest example of anaphora in Scripture is found at Heb. 11. There, the writer of Hebrews continually uses Πίστει to delineate the many acts of faith performed by those who lived prior to the Messiah's first-century manifestation.

Paul further utilizes anaphora in 1 Cor. 13:7; Phil. 4:8. His employment of ὅσα in the latter passage is skilled and makes the text easy to remember: his style is apparently deliberate and observably efficacious. Rhetoric, as can be seen from Paul's writings, is not always something that should be placed in a pejorative light.

Concerning ὅσα, Meyer's NT Commentary states: "nothing being excepted, expressed asyndetically six times with the emphasis of an earnest ἐπιμονή. Comp. Php 2:1, Php 3:2; Buttmann, Neut. Gr. p. 341 [E. T. 398]."

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