Figurative Language (8-10)

(8) Apostrophe – this is when personification is used (giving human traits to non human things) in the form of an exclamation.  A good example of this in the Bible is “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 1 Cor 15:55

(9) Ellipsis (Brachylogy) – this is a grammatical construction which refers to the omission of a clause of one or more words that would otherwise be required by the remaining elements. In the Bible this is often done for emphasis (especially in biblical Greek). Many modern English translations attempt to supply these omissions by providing italicized words that have no direct source in the original language. This does not lessen the force or validity of these clauses and words, simply a reminder that no two languages function exactly the same, the way you say something in Greek will require different linguistic constructions to express the same meaning in English.

(10) Aposiopesis – this is the suppression of a part of a sentence for emphasis. An example of this in common language would be “Stop or else…” Or else what? The answer can usually be filled-in according to the context. If this was said by a man pointing a gun at you, he means “Stop or else I’ll shoot you,” and if this was said by a woman standing on the edge of a tall building she means “Stop or else I’ll jump off this building.” It is an emphasis on the words not said. Ps 6:3 says “My soul also is greatly troubled. But you, O LORD— how long?” How long what? this is Aposiopesis, and it’s intentional. You are intended to fill-in the blanks.

About John Harris

I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
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