Tag Archives: Linguistics

Steven Runge, Discourse Analysis, and The Book of the Twelve

I hope many of you are familiar with the work of Steven Runge, who is known for his efforts in the study of discourse analysis in both the Old and New Testaments. Among his publications are books such as Discourse Grammar of the Greek New Testament: A Practical Introduction for Teaching and Exegesis and the Lexham Discourse Hebrew Bible Bundle (6 vols.) available in Logos, aiding readers of the ancient texts to better understand how meaning can be discerned from a discourse-pragmatic level.

In addition to the publications listed above, Runge presented a paper in 2007 at the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature entitled “Joel 2:28-32a in Acts 2:17-21: The Discourse and Text-Critical Implications of Variation from the LXX.” Though this paper did not exhaustively seek  to evaluate the manuscript evidence for Peter’s use of Joel, it did attempt to show the practical benefit of discourse considerations of the text. This remains a helpful resource for one example of the NT’s use of the OT, but from a different angle than is frequently employed.

Over at Runge’s blog, he has posted some comments on various aspects of discourse analysis, most recently part one of a series on a meaningful distinction between ἀλλά and εἰ μή (“rather” and “except” respectively). Runge states that the function of ἀλλά in a sentence is to offer a corrective to the preceding statement. As he notes, its usage implies that there is something wrong with what precedes the conjunction that is in need of correction. This need not indicate that the speaker himself is in error in his knowledge and speech, but rather, he may use the conjunction for a desired rhetorical effect.

The conjunction ἀλλά makes ten appearances by my count in the LXX of the Twelve. For the majority of its appearance, Runge’s distinction holds true, with the possible exception of Micah 6:8 and Malachi 2:16. Regardless, this can be on helpful distinction to aid a close reading of the text.

I encourage you to follow his posts here.

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