Literary Structures

  • All large documents contain some kind of structuring
  • Ancient ways of structuring are very different to modern practices
    • Modern: chapters, subtitles, paragraphs, introduction & conclusion
    • Ancient: narrative techniques, inclusio, parallelism, inverse parallel structures, etc.
  • Logic:
    1. Context is one of the most vital factors in determining meaning
    2. The most important aspect of the context of a passage is its role in the argument of the book.
    3. The structure of a book gives great help in determining the flow of argument:
      • both at the level of the whole book
      • and within smaller sections
    4. Therefore structure is of great exegetical importance.
  • Structure of the book of Judges
  • Colossians 3:1-6
  • Structure of the book of Acts
  • Structure of Galatians 5:13-6:5 (pdf document)
  • Handout on structure of Luke 18:18-30

Two valuable papers:

  • C. A. Smith, The Leaning Tower—Foundational Weaknesses if Contemporary Chiastic Studies, (Toronto: ETS, 2002)
  • A. Boyd Luter And Richard O. Rigsby An Adjusted Symmetrical Structuring Of Ruth, JETS 39:1 (March 1996) p. 16