Volume 11 (2022-23)
Yan Ma
Canadian Chinese School of Theology, Toronto, Canada
Rhetorical Structure Theory (RST), which was originally developed by William C. Mann and Sandra A. Thompson as a functional theory to describe the text structure of written discourse, has been further advanced and incorporated into Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) by Christian M. I. M. Matthiessen. This study aims to introduce this new method to New Testament discourse analysis by integrating the features of New Testament Greek. This study also demonstrates the application of RST by conducting a rhetoricalrelational analysis on John 8:31–59 to verify that RST can serve as an effective tool for New Testament interpretation and will offer new insights relevant to New Testament studies.
Keywords: Systemic Functional Linguistics, Rhetorical Structure Theory, discourse analysis, New Testament interpretation, Gospel of John
Hojoon J. Ahn
Sungkyul University, Anyang-si, South Korea
Among 421 variants in the Gospel of Luke revealed from a comparative analysis between TD8 and NA28, this study attempts a textual-critical analysis of five tense-form variants (Luke 7:20, 24, 25, 26; 22:52) in terms of verbal aspect theory. First, concerning their age, geographical features, and genealogical features, the aorist readings (ἀπέστειλεν, ἐξήλθατε) can probably be regarded as superior to the perfect readings (ἀπέσταλκεν, ἐξεληλύθατε). Second, considering the internal evidence revealed via verbal aspect theory, the aorist readings have more weight than the perfect readings. Regarding the reason why Tischendorf chose the perfect tense-form reading even though important MSS (e.g., P75 א B) support the aorist reading, this study suggests that, via Georg B. Winer who was his teacher, Tischendorf had a tense-centered Greek understanding. In addition, concentrating on the perfect tense-form reading of the 4–5c MSS such as A (02) and W (032), this study suggests that the variations involved here may have helped to initiate the change from the reading based on the verbal aspect to a tense-centered reading in the 4c. This study reveals the need for, and significance of, verbal aspect theory for NT textual criticism.
Keywords: Textual criticism, verbal aspect, Gospel of Luke, Constantine Tischendorf
Stanley E. Porter
McMaster Divinity College, Hamilton, Canada
This paper argues that a natural language approach to the Greek of the New Testament is needed in order to perform the kind of exegesis that recognizes crucial characteristics of Greek as a language and that takes into account important developments in linguistic thought about language. The paper questions many of the ways that exegesis is done in contemporary New Testament studies by failure to use a natural language approach. Two major examples of exegetical approaches are used to exemplify some of the problems that arise when the Greek language of the New Testament is not seen to be a variety of Koine Greek of the Hellenistic or Greco-Roman period.
Keywords: Natural language, Greek, exegesis, Koine, linguistics
Martin M. Culy
Cypress Hills Ministries
While all scholars agree that responsible interpretation of the Greek New Testament requires the use of a variety of exegetical tools, it is exceedingly rare to find treatments of hermeneutics or exegesis that address the importance of being able to actually read, rather than simply decode, the biblical text in its original languages. This study considers the ramifications of this gap in exegetical training and practice primarily through illustrating how a lack of fluid reading skills may lead modern exegetes to misread the biblical text in a variety of ways.
Keywords: Koine Greek, exegesis, reading skills
James D. Dvorak
McMaster Divinity College, Hamilton, Canada
Context has often been understood primarily in a literary sense, referring to the text appearing immediately before and immediately following the unit under investigation. Some use the term to refer to the historical setting or situatedness of a text, including such features as the significant people, places, things, and events leading up to and/or existing during the time in which the author lived and wrote. Yet neither of these notions of context is sufficient, and even taken together they do not offer a complete picture. The present article proposes a more complex (yet still workable) and delicate model of context that is rooted in sociolinguistic and cultural anthropological theory.
Keywords: context, context of culture, context of situation, sociolinguistics, Systemic Functional Linguistics, cultural anthropology, social-scientific criticism