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Re: Re; Chiastic Structures

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  • kymhsm
    John, Thank you. It is good to be brought back more specifically to John. Let me own up to my ignorance here. I would be out of my depth to argue from personal
    Message 1 of 3 , Oct 15, 2003
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      John,

      Thank you. It is good to be brought back more specifically to
      John.

      Let me own up to my ignorance here. I would be out of my depth
      to argue from personal study. My concentration has basically
      been on what has become apparent in John. However, what I
      have to hand are a couple of quotes that may be useful - if not
      directly about John. They are from Charles Lock, in his postscript
      to John Breck's book, "The Shape of Biblical Language". He
      says:

      In Fr. Breck's most resonant phrase, the literate of the ancient
      world "were trained throughout their school years to read from
      the center outwards and from the extremities towards the
      center." To see the text as linear, progressive, and logical is a
      sophisticated refinement that characterizes modernity: it is a
      method of reading appropriate to dialectical thinking, to a
      thinking by representations in which presence is always
      deferred. In another, earlier, even "archaic" mode of thinking,
      presence is here, in the middle of things, in the middle of
      sentences, in the middle of paragraphs, at the crossing of
      energies we name the now and here. (`Some Words After
      Chiasmus', in Breck, J., The Shape of Biblical Language, (St
      Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1994), p. 362f).

      In the same place Lock also writes:

      Fr. Breck makes the important point that chiasmus would have
      been used as a mnemonic device: if one can remember all the
      phrases from A to F, one will l have plenty of cues and clues to
      complete the chiasmic unit, from F to A. And we should therefore
      assume that chiasmus originated in an oral culture. As oral
      narratives were written down, and as the written version
      safeguarded the narrative details, so the memory of the chiastic
      structure would fade. (p. 365)

      I hope these are useful. It is an interesting point that Lock makes
      in his last sentence. I think this is exactly what has happened
      with John. In written form, the need to recall the structures
      diminished to the point where the early Church forgot them
      altogether.

      Kym Smith
      Adelaide
      South Australia
      khs@...
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