Chiastic structures in Hebrews : a study of form and function in Biblical discourse

Heath, David Mark (2011-03)

Thesis (DPhil (Ancient Studies))--University of Stellenbosch, 2011.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The compositional strategy, structure, and peak of the book Hebrews are heavily debated. Most scholars analyze Hebrews from only a Western linear approach. Other scholars like Vanhoye, Neeley, G.H. Guthrie, and Gelardini have suggested a chiastic perspective. Despite the insights gained from a chiastic approach, the linguistic analyses of Neeley and G.H. Guthrie posit linguistic peaks that appear incompatible with the chiastic peak of Vanhoye, Neeley, and Gelardini. Neeley, G.H. Guthrie, and Westfall claim to apply linguistic principles to the text, but with quite different conclusions. This study focuses on the form and function of the literary units and the relationship of these units to the overall book-level structure. Initial considerations include defining the individual literary units and determining the significance of lexical and syntactical recurrences within the pericopes. Such recurrences are important features for determining textual boundaries, transitions, and compositional patterns. Subsequently, this study evaluates literary units in relation to each other in light of book-level correspondences (syntactical and semantic) as a means of positing an overall structure and compositional strategy for the book of Hebrews. Unlike the linear study of Westfall, the relationships of non-sequential literary units are considered as well as sequential units (i.e., both linear and concentric patterns). In addition to the analysis of the form and function of chiastic and parallel literary units, this study also considers the rhetorical function and significance of the central placement of OT quotations within those structures. Although the OT quotations often occur in the center of the chiastic structures, imperativals (imperatives, prohibitive subjunctives, and hortatory subjunctives) do not generally occur in the chiastic centers, but in the outer components of the chiastic structures. Such a perspective is helpful for understanding where the author is placing emphasis as well as for clarifying the relationship between the epideictic (doctrinal) and deliberative (hortatory) sections. Contrary to G.H. Guthrie’s and Westfall’s emphases on the deliberative sections, this study contends that Hebrews contains a coherent concentric pattern (involving a central thematic peak, dual hortatory climaxes, and dual apexes) as part of an overall compositional strategy. This is not to suggest that the epideictic sections are more important than the explicit exhortations found in the deliberative sections, but that the hortatory essence of Hebrews is rooted in both the theological truth of Jesus’ role as the great high priest and the function of his everlasting sacrifice in the heavenly tabernacle. The author weaved these texttypes together to deliver an even more powerful call to faithfulness. This study also challenges Nauck’s assertion that Heb 4:14–10:31 is one integral section. One of the key elements of this challenge is the unique interpretation of Heb 5:1-10 as foreshadowing the topic found in Hebrews 7. Understanding the foreshadowing essence of Heb 5:1-10 opens the means of interpreting Heb 4:14-16 and 10:19-22 as hortatory bookends to the central theological sections of Hebrews as opposed to designating Nauck’s lexical parallels as an inclusio.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Daar word hewig gedebatteer oor die komposisionele strategie, struktuur en piek van die Hebreër-boek. Die meeste geleerdes analiseer Hebreërs slegs vanuit ‘n Westerse liniêre benadering. Ander geleerdes soos Vanhoye, Neeley, G.H. Guthrie en Gelardini het ‘n chiastiese perspektief voorgestel. Ten spyte van die insigte wat ‘n chiastiese benadering opgelewer het, poneer die linguistiese analises van Neeley en G.H. Guthrie linguistiese pieke wat onversoenbaar met die chiastiese piek van Vanhoye, Neeley and Gelardini lyk. Neeley, G.H. Guthrie en Westfall maak daarop aanspraak dat hulle linguistiese beginsels op die teks toepas, maar met uiteenlopende gevolgtrekkings. Hierdie studie fokus op die vorm en funksie van die literêre eenhede in die Hebreërboek en die verhouding van hierdie eenhede tot die oorkoepelende boek-vlak struktuur. Aanvanklike oorwegings sluit die omskrywing van die individuele literêre eenhede en die bepaling van die belang van leksikale en sintaktiese herhalings binne die perikope in. Sulke herhalings is van groot belang om die tekstuele grense, oorgange en komposisionele patrone te bepaal. Daarna word die literêre eenhede in verhouding tot mekaar in die lig van boek-vlak (sintaktiese en semantiese) ooreenkomste gëevalueer in ‘n poging om ‘n oorkoepelende struktuur en komposisionele strategie vir die Hebreërs-boek te poneer. Anders as die liniêre studie van Westfall word die verhoudings tussen nie-opeenvolgende sowel as opeenvolgende eenhede in ag geneem (d.w.s. beide liniêre en konsentriese patrone). Benewens die vorm en funksie van chiastiese en parallele literêre eenhede word die retoriese funksie en belang van die sentrale stelling van OT aanhalings binne hierdie strukture ook in oënskou geneem. Hoewel die OT aanhalings dikwels in die kern van die chiastiese strukture voorkom, word bevelsvorme (imperatiewe, verbodsubjuntiewe en aansporende subjunktiewe) nie normaalweg in die chiastiese kern aangetref nie, maar in die buitenste komponente van ‘n chiastiese struktuur. Hierdie insig help ons verstaan waar die skrywer die nadruk plaas en bied ook klarigheid oor die verhouding tussen die epideiktiese (leerstellige) en deliberatiewe (aansporende) gedeeltes. In teenstelling met G.H. Guthrie en Westfall se nadruk op die deliberatiewe gedeeltes word in hierdie studie aangevoer dat Hebreërs ‘n koherente konsentriese patroon (met ‘n sentrale tematiese piek, tweevoudige aanporende klimakse en tweevoudige kruine) bevat as deel van ‘n oorkoepelende komposisionele strategie. Dit beteken nie dat die epideiktiese gedeeltes belangriker is as die eksplisiete aansporings in die deliberatiewe gedeeltes nie, maar wel dat die aansporende essensie van Hebreërs gewortel is in sowel die teologiese waarheid van Jesus se rol as groot hoëpriester asook in die funksie van sy ewigdurende offerande in die hemelse tabernakel. Die skrywer het die onderskeie tekstipes verweef om ‘n nog sterker oproep tot getrouheid te maak. Hierdie studie betwis ook Nauck se bewering dat Heb 4:14–10:31 een integrale gedeelte vorm. Een van die sleutelelemente van die kritiek is die unieke interpretasie dat Heb 5:1-10 die tema wat in Hebreërs 7 voorkom, voorafskadu. Insig in die voorafskaduende rol van Heb 5:1-10 bied die geleentheid om Heb 4:14-16 en 10:19- 22 as aansporende boekstutte vir die sentrale teologiese gedeeltes van Hebreërs te interpreteer instede daarvan om Nauck se leksikale parallele as inclusio te beskryf.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/6829
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