Dedicated to the writings of Saint Luke.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Mire of the streets

The Prophet Micah used the πηλός in the phrase, “now she will be trodden down like the mire of the streets.” This expression, “mire of the streets” appears four times in the RSV translation: 2 Samuel 22:43; Isaiah 10:6; Psalm 18:42 and the passage I mentioned in Micah as a Source for Luke, Micah 7:10. It also appears in the KJV in Zechariah 9:3 and 10:5.

I have been thinking about the ideas we have associated with particular words and the possible significance of the use of stock phrases. “Mire of the streets” is associated with “trodden down” in 2 Samuel 22:43, Micah 7:10 and Zechariah 10:5.

John used the word πηλός in his narrative about Jesus healing the blind man on the Sabbath telling us when “he said this, he spat on the ground and made clay of the spittle and anointed the man's eyes with the clay.” Not everyone made the same association.

Birger Gerhardsson produced the first major study of oral and written transmission in the NT period. His approach emphasized the importance of verbatim memorization and delivery from memory. Gerhardsson also discussed techniques used to aid memory such as catch-words, acrostics and signs. Since the publication of Memory and Transmission in 1961 there have been a number of studies on formulaic language, repetitive devices such as inclusion and structural devices such as chiasmus.

I have discussed some of these techniques which can be found in the Septuagint and the writings of Luke. I plan to return to this topic.

Copyrighted 2007


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