Discussion on Literary Structures/ Outlines

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Ron Corbett | Forum Activity | Posted: Sun, Mar 13 2016 9:11 AM

I would like to open a discussion on the importance of Literary Structures.

Just how important are they?

What priority should be given them?

How might they be better integrated into our Logos software? (any ideas?)

What difference could it make for our studies if the Literary Structures / Outlines were to be given greater prominence?

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Mark | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Mar 13 2016 12:32 PM

Ron, how would you answer these questions?

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Schumitinu | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Mar 13 2016 6:57 PM

Ron Corbett:

I would like to open a discussion on the importance of Literary Structures.

Just how important are they?

What priority should be given them?

How might they be better integrated into our Logos software? (any ideas?)

What difference could it make for our studies if the Literary Structures / Outlines were to be given greater prominence?

According to my understanding of Literary Structure, they help with interpretation of texts where they are clearly present. Literary structure was used on purpose to aid the hearer's understanding in two ways. First, they help to follow the organization of the text, the train of thought so to speak. Secondly, they help to retain what was heard, since there was a clear structure to it. Literary Structure used in the biblical texts have to be interpreted in light of oral 'texts'. Even though they got written down, the majority of the people heard these texts, either being told or being read to them. They did not have to luxury of written copies to read and study. So what they heard had to be presented in such a way that is clearly structured and retainable. Today in our written societies we us a bunch of connecting devices to accomplish similar effects. 

The issue is to wanting to see structures where there are none, or different people coming to different results. If we want to analyze them they had to be analyzed in the Hebrew and Greek texts, not the English translations. One had to find a clear basis on which these structures are built. 

Once we have identified them, literary structure can help us to see the flow of arguments - how the writer developed his text, how the text is organized - how the text today should be split up into units of thoughts/paragraphs, the writer's purpose of the text and how he accomplished his purpose, and to identify what is emphasized or the climax in a text or portion of a text.

As far as integrating it into Logos, I see two options. One: Logos develops its own analysis, like they did with the propositional outline. Two: Logos adds a section to the passage guide that brings together what commentators have said about the literary structure/rhetorical flow of the text. This however would need to be tagged in the commentaries etc.

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Allen Browne | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 14 2016 12:01 AM

Ron Corbett:
I would like to open a discussion on the importance of Literary Structures.

Just how important are they?

What priority should be given them?

How might they be better integrated into our Logos software? (any ideas?)

What difference could it make for our studies if the Literary Structures / Outlines were to be given greater prominence?

Hi Ron

That's a big topic, so you would need to read up on the various ways that people identify the literary structures in the various genres found in Scripture.

Discourse Analysis is one important approach. Look for resource's by Faithlife's own Steven Runge, e.g. Discourse Grammar of the Greek New Testament: A Practical Introduction for Teaching and Exegesis (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2010).

For the NT letters, you might consider Ben Witherington III, New Testament Rhetoric: An Introductory Guide to the Art of Persuasion in and of the New Testament. (Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2009).

Recent commentaries to a Bible book often have an outline in the introductory section, and the good ones often explain why they believe the book naturally falls into that structure at the macro level.

At the micro-level, some packages include the Cascadia Syntax Graphs of the New Testament. Logos also provides a visual filter that displays NT books by Propositional Outline:

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Forum MVP
MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 14 2016 12:19 AM

Ron Corbett:
importance of Literary Structures

They are very important to understanding the intended response of the original audience. Consciously or uncounsciously the audience knows "how it is supposed to go" (literary structure) and recognize that breaks from expectations are important to understanding the narrative (or poem ... or ...).

Ron Corbett:
Outlines were to be given greater prominence?

Outlines are less likely to be inherent in the text although sometimes they are. One needs to distinguish between outlines created by the readers / scholars vs. outlines intentionally in the text.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 7
Dennis Parish | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 14 2016 8:31 AM

I would really like to see David E. Aune's The Westminster Dictionary of New Testament and Early Christian Literature and Rhetoric in Logos. Suggested it several years ago. 

I think users will need to construct their own custom highlighting palettes to mark chiasms and other devices.

Dennis

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