Saturday, July 23, 2016

Redundancy, Pleonastic Speech, and the Bible

When I say that the Bible contains redundancies, I use the term in the way that linguists do. Moises Silva offers the following input with regard to Biblical redundancies:

"It is unfortunate, however, that the term redundancy continues to be viewed in a purely negative light. Linguists, drawing on the work of communication engineers, have long recognized that redundancy is a built-in feature of every language and that it aids, rather than hinders, the process of communication" (Philippians, 12-13).

A prime example of redundancy in the Bible is Philippians 2:1 which Lightfoot describes as a "tautology of earnestness." This observation does not make Scripture any less sacred, but it simply recognizes the fact that God had Scripture recorded in human language and thus human syntactical and morphological rules are followed in the Holy Bible (like other human speech conventions).

D. A. Black also provides a very nice discussion on this subject in Linguistics for Students of NT Greek. On pp. 132-136, Black supplies examples of different rhetorical devices like anaphora, anastrophe, asyndeton, polysyndeton, litotes, and pleonasm (redundancy).

Some examples of pleonasm are Col. 1:23; Phil. 1:23; 2:1.

As for Philippians 2:1, in Greek, it reads:

Εἴ τις οὖν παράκλησις ἐν Χριστῷ, εἴ τι παραμύθιον ἀγάπης, εἴ τις κοινωνία πνεύματος, εἴ τις σπλάγχνα καὶ οἰκτιρμοί


Duncan said...

A Rhetorical Device List that I have found useful, others here may also find this useful:

Alliteration, Allusion, Amplification, Anacoluthon, Anadiplosis, Analogy, Anaphora, Anastrophe,Antanagoge, Antimetabole, Antiphrasis, Antistrophe, Antithesis, Apophasis, Aporia, Aposiopesis, Apostrophe, Appositive, Archaism, Assonance, Asyndeton, Aureation, Brachylogy, Cacophony, Catachresis, Cataphora, Chiasmus, Chiastic structure, Climax, Conduplicatio, Copulatio, Diacope, Diction, Dirimens, Distinctio, Enthymeme, Enumeration, Epanalepsis, Epistrophe, Epithet, Epizeuxis, Eponym, Euphemism, Exemplum, Expletive, Hendiadys, Hypallage, Hyperbaton, Hyperbole, Hypophora, Hypotaxis, Hysteron-Proteron, Imagery, Irony, Litotes, Metabasis, Metanoia, Metaphor, Metonymy, Onomaton, Onomatopoeia, Oxymoron, Parade of horribles, Paradox, Parallelism, Paraprosdokian, Parataxis, Parenthesis, Paronomasia, Personification, Pleonasm, Polysyndeton, Praeteritio, Procatalepsis, Prolepsis, Question, Rhetorical, Rhetorical organization, Rhetorical question, Scesis, Sententia, Simile, Syllepsis, Symbolism, Symploce, Synchysis, Synecdoche, Synesis, Syntax, Tautology, Understatement, Zeugma

Edgar Foster said...

Bullinger on pleonasm: