Sunday, May 12, 2024

Patterns of Repetition, Structure, and Meaning in Hebrews

"While many have recognized unusual patterns of repetition within the book of Hebrews, which seem to play a range of important functions within the text, the consistency of this patterning has not been fully appreciated and its function has been largely unexamined. This study investigates the location and function of what we have termed "link clusters" within Hebrews from the perspective of discourse analysis, to gain fresh insight into the language, structure, and genre of Hebrews; into the book's relationship to the Old Testament; and into the book's authorship and meaning. This work proposes, first, that Hebrews uses repetition to establish formal connections between words and phrases marked as significant by their location and context with respect to other similarly connected words and phrases; second, that link clusters serve to structure the book of Hebrews by uniting the text into a series of overlapping, concentric, and coherent units; and, third, that link clusters also serve an important topical function, clarifying and amplifying intended meaning as pairs of matching topic sentences that respectively introduce and conclude each section and subsection of the discourse by summarizing its content."

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