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Re: [Synoptic-L] *Ornatus* and the Synoptic Problem

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  • John C. Poirier
    ... Richard, Your definition of litotes took me by surprise, since I always thought that litotes was deliberate understatement, to accentuate the superlative
    Message 1 of 9 , Dec 3, 2003
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      Richard H. Anderson wrote:

      >Litotes is a rhetorical device of understatement used in some languages
      >in which a positive statement is intended by stating the opposite of
      >its negative, for example, saying "not many" for the meaning "a few".
      >Therefore my examples are valid.
      >
      Richard,

      Your definition of "litotes" took me by surprise, since I always thought
      that litotes was deliberate understatement, to accentuate the
      superlative (e.g., saying "It's a little chilly" when it's really 30
      below zero). I therefore did a search on "litotes" and found that there
      are two very different definitions out there (yours and mine). I wonder
      if one definition is a corruption of the other. (Does anyone on the
      list happen to know, and [esp.] does anyone know which is correct for
      ancient Greek rhetoric?)


      John C. Poirier
      Middletown, Ohio




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    • Maluflen@aol.com
      In a message dated 12/3/2003 4:43:03 AM Pacific Standard Time, ... I think John Poirier may be right here, and that you may be missing a slight nuance in the
      Message 2 of 9 , Dec 3, 2003
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        In a message dated 12/3/2003 4:43:03 AM Pacific Standard Time, randerson58@... writes:


        Litotes is a rhetorical device of understatement used in some languages
        in which a positive statement is intended by stating the opposite of
        its negative, for example, saying "not many" for the meaning "a few".
        Therefore my examples are valid.



        I think John Poirier may be right here, and that you may be missing a slight nuance in the definition of litotes, which is the element of irony and understatement (in addition to stating what is intended in a negative formulation). On the other hand, some of the cases you brought up in Lk (particularly 15:13) may indeed have this element sufficiently to qualify. Actually, I didn't intend to make a major issue of the non-presence of litotes in Luke, although my statement itself seems to imply this. A more qualified statement would perhaps be more accurate: Luke uses litotes more frequently (and with a more classical flourish) in Acts than in his Gospel. The point of this observation is to confirm the fact that Luke adjusts his style consciously to suit his material, and that in general he writes with stylistic consciousness. As the Gospel begins to move into the Greco-Roman world with the preaching of Paul, Luke begins to write more pointedly for a Greco-Roman audience. To a great extent he abandons his LXX-imitation style, and even his literary models tend to be taken more from the classical writings of Greece and Rome. Speaking of which, did anyone attend the paper at the SBL meeting by Dennis Macdonald on "Paul as Theomachus: Imitation of Euripides' Bacchae in Acts"?

        Leonard Maluf
        Blessed John XXIII National Seminary
        Weston, MA
      • John Lupia
        According to Ad Herennium 4.38.50 deminutio (diminutio) is the lessening of one s accomplishments as a form of modesty (pudica) in a text or speech in order
        Message 3 of 9 , Dec 3, 2003
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          According to Ad Herennium 4.38.50 "deminutio"
          (diminutio) is the lessening of one's accomplishments
          as a form of modesty (pudica) in a text or speech in
          order to gain the admiration of the audience. This
          rhetorical form (figure of ethos)was one of two key
          types used by speakers or authors (the other being
          anamnesis) to establish authority with the audience.
          This is very different from a mere deliberate
          understatement by disproportionate characterization as
          a lesser nature or kind, which, in rhetoric is
          "meiosis". The opposite of this latter form is
          overstatement or "hyperbole".

          > > Litotes is a rhetorical device of understatement
          > used in some languages
          > > in which a positive statement is intended by
          > stating the opposite of
          > > its negative, for example, saying "not many" for
          > the meaning "a few".
          > > Therefore my examples are valid.




          =====
          John N. Lupia, III
          Toms River New Jersey 08757 USA
          Phone: (732) 505-5325
          http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Roman-Catholic-News/
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