A Discourse Analysis of First CorinthiansRalph Bruce Terry
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Quotations

Methods of Introducing Quotations in I Corinthians

A further area of study in discourse analysis is the examination of quotations and the ways in which they are introduced into the text. Table 34 lists the locations of the certain direct quotations in I Corinthians together with their introducers and sources. There may be other quotations as well. It has already been suggested in chapter II of this study that some of the statements from the Corinthians' letter to Paul are echoed in I Corinthians. Possible locations for these quotations from the Corinthians' letter include 6:12, 13; 7:1; 8:1, 4, 5-6, 8; and 11:2 (Hurd 1983, 68). None of these locations, however, are marked with quotation introducers to indicate that they are in fact quotations. It seems best to omit them from the study in favor of only those quotations that are certain.

TABLE 34

QUOTATION INTRODUCTION IN I CORINTHIANS

PassageIntroductionSource of Quote
 
1:12 legei 'says' some Corinthians
1:12 none some Corinthians
1:12 none some Corinthians
1:12 none some Corinthians
1:19 gegraptai 'it has been written' Old Testament
1:31 gegraptai 'it has been written' Old Testament
2:9 gegraptai 'it has been written' Old Testament
2:16 gar 'for' Old Testament
3:4 legh tiV 'someone says' some Corinthians
3:4 eteroV de 'and another' some Corinthians
3:19 gegraptai 'it has been written' Old Testament
3:20 kai palin 'and again' Old Testament
4:6 to 'the [saying]' known saying
5:13 none Old Testament
6:16 gar fhsin 'for it says' Old Testament
9:9 gegraptai 'it has been written' Old Testament
10:7 gegraptai 'it has been written' Old Testament
10:26 gar 'for' Old Testament
10:28 tiV eiph 'someone should say' hypothetical speech
11:24 eipen 'he said' Jesus
11:25 legwn 'saying' Jesus
12:3 legei 'says' hypothetical speech
12:3 dunatai eipein 'can say' hypothetical speech
12:15 eiph 'should say' hypothetical speech
12:16 eiph 'should say' hypothetical speech
12:21 dunatai eipein 'can say' hypothetical speech
12:21 h palin 'or again' hypothetical speech
14:21 gegraptai 'it has been written' Old Testament
14:25 apaggellwn oti 'proclaiming that'hypothetical speech
15:25 merged into sentence Old Testament
15:27 gar 'for' Old Testament
15:32 none Old Testament
15:33 none Menander, Thais
15:35 erei tiV 'someone will say' hypothetical speech
15:45 gegraptai 'it has been written' Old Testament
15:54 o gegrammenoV 'the thing written'Old Testament
15:55 none Old Testament

In addition, the book of I Corinthians contains indirect quotations. For example, 9:10 looks like a quotation from the Old Testament. It is introduced with egrafh oti 'it is written that', using the same root word for write that is discussed below as regularly introducing Old Testament quotations. Further, although oti 'that' is regularly used with indirect discourse, it can also function like modern quotation marks in introducing a direct quotation (Robertson 1934, 1027-1028; Turner 1963, 326; and Blass, Debrunner, and Funk 1961, 246-247 [§ 470]). But the words that follow are not found in any Old Testament, classical, or apocryphal passage and must be a paraphrase or logical inference from Deut. 25:4, quoted in the previous verse (cf. Fee 1987, 409).

Another example of indirect discourse is found in 15:12 (pwV legousin en umin tineV oti anastasiV nekrwn ouk estin; "how do some among you say that there is not a resurrection of the dead?"). Here Paul is paraphrasing the report that has come to him about what some are teaching. The indirect quotation is introduced by legousin . . . oti 'they say . . . that'. This is little different from introductions of direct quotation, on which this study focuses.

Eighteen of the thirty-seven quotations listed in Table 34 are from the Old Testament. Among these, eight are introduced using the word gegraptai 'it has been written'. This is the perfect passive indicative form of grafw 'I write'. The perfect passive participle of the same word (yeypammenoV 'having been written') is used once (in 15:54) as an introductory word.

The second most used introductory word for Old Testament quotations is gar 'for'. Three times (2:16; 10:26; and 15:27) it is used alone and once (6:16) with fhsin 'it says'. In addition, three times (5:13; 15:32; and 15:55) an Old Testament scripture is quoted without any introduction. The last of these flows right from the quotation of Isaiah 25:8 in 15:54 into the quotation of Hosea 13:14 in 15:55. It is possible to view the introduction to 15:54 as introducing both passages. Further, the quotation in 15:25 is merged into the sentence without an introduction. The final example of an introductory phrase for a quotation is kai palin 'and again' found in 3:20. This quotation follows immediately after a quotation in 3:19, which explains the use of the word palin 'again'.

The second largest class of quotations are those that represent hypothetical speech. The hypothetical speakers range from a host at a party (10:28) to a person speaking under the influence of a spirit (12:3) to body parts such as the foot (12:15), ear (12:16), eye (12:21), and head (12:21) to a stranger entering the assembly (14:25) to an opponent of Paul's (15:35). The first and last of these speakers are introduced by the indefinite pronoun tiV 'someone'.

Five of these nine cases are introduced using a form of eipon, the second aorist form of the verb leyw 'I say'; in addition, one case (12:3) uses the present tense of this verb and one (15:35) the future tense. Two other forms are used to introduce hypothetical speech: apaggellwn oti 'proclaiming that' in 14:25 and h palin 'or again' in 12:21. As mentioned above, here once more palin 'again' is used to introduce the second quotation in a row.

The third group of quotations are those cases in 1:12 and 3:4 where Paul is reproducing the reported speech of the Corinthians. Here different Corinthians are saying different things and so lists of sayings are given. Both lists are introduced with a form of the word legw 'I say'. The first list has no introductory words for the second through the fourth items in the list; the quotations simply follow immediately after one another. The second list is shortened to include only two quotations, so the second is introduced with eteroV de 'and another' with reference to another speaker.

Two quotations found in 11:23-25 are taken from the sayings of Jesus at the institution of the Lord's Supper. Both the quotations before Jesus gave his disciples the bread and the cup are introduced with a form of the word legw 'I say'.

There are two other quotations in I Corinthians. There is a saying in 4:6 which Paul quotes as if the Corinthians are familiar with it. This saying he introduces simply with the neuter article to 'the'. The other familiar quotation (in 15:33) is one from Menander's Thais, "Bad company ruins good morals" (RSV); this had become a popular saying by the time I Corinthians was written (cf. Fee 1987, 773) and has no introduction at all.

Thus there are several techniques used to introduce quotations in I Corinthians. When a quotation comes from the Old Testament scriptures, a written source, it is most often introduced by a perfect passive form of grafw 'I write'. When a quotation comes from a spoken source, either reported or hypothetical, it is most often introduced by a form of legw 'I say'. Written sources are also introduced by the word gar 'for' when the quotation is providing support or further explanation. Where two quotations are given together, the second may be introduced by palin 'again' or by eteroV 'another'. And finally, familiar sayings, either scriptural or otherwise, may be quoted with no introduction at all. This gives substance to the idea that certain passages may be quotations from the Corinthians' letter, even though they have no introduction as quotations. The Corinthians would certainly have been familiar with their own letter.

Old Testament Quotations and Synoptic Traditions

Turning from the introductions to the quotations to the form of the quotations themselves, the book contains seventeen quotations from the Old Testament. Table 35 lists the Old Testament quotations in I Corinthians together with the category codes assigned by Archer and Chirichigno (1983, 2-147 passim). The letter A represents a quotation that is substantially the same in the Masoretic Hebrew Text, the Greek Septuagint, and the Greek New Testament. This ranking may be given even if a few minor variations exist between these, in which case a superscript d is added. The letter B represents quotations that follow the Septuagint where it deviates somewhat from the Masoretic Text, but not so much as to change the meaning of the passage. The letter C represents quotations that follow the Masoretic Text more closely than the Septuagint, where these two differ. The letter D represents quotations that follow the Septuagint where it has a significantly different reading than the Masoretic Text. The letter E represents quotations that show significant differences from both the Masoretic Text and the Septuagint. Table 35 shows that all but three of the quotations agree with the Septuagint. The quotations in 2:16 and 3:19 agree more closely with the Masoretic Text. The quotation in 2:9 is described by Archer and Chirichigno as "a noteworthy example of a conflate quotation from various passages written in a paraphrastic manner" (1983, xxx).

The passage in I Corinthians 11:23-25 is not strictly speaking a quotation; but it is interesting in that it contains a close parallel to the synoptic tradition found in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. There are 68 words in the three verses. Omitting the 11 words of introduction, the parallel passage contains 57 words. Of these, 17 (or 29.8%) are found wholly or partly in all three synoptic Gospels. In addition, 38 (or 66.7%) are found wholly or partly in Luke. This would seem to indicate that the synoptic tradition as regards the Last Supper had a high degree of uniformity when I Corinthians was written (These statistics were complied using Aland 1970, 284).

TABLE 35

OLD TESTAMENT QUOTATIONS IN I CORINTHIANS

 PASSAGE       |  REFERENCE           | CODE
 1   1:19      |  Isa. 29:14          | Bd  
 2   1:31      |  Jer. 9:24           | A   
 3   2:9       |  Isa. 64:4           | E   
 4   2:16      |  Isa. 40:13          | C   
 5   3:19      |  Job 5:13            | C   
 6   3:20      |  Ps. 94:11           | Ad  
 7   5:13      |  Deut. 17:7          | A   
 8   6:16      |  Gen. 2:24           | A   
 9   9:9       |  Deut. 25:4          | A-  
 10  10:7      |  Ex. 32:6            | A   
 11  10:26     |  Ps. 24:1            | A   
 12  14:21     |  Is. 28:11-12        | D,Bd
 13  15:25     |  Ps. 110:1           | Ad* 
 14  15:27     |  Ps. 8:6             | A   
 15  15:32     |  Isa. 22:13          | A   
 16  15:45     |  Gen. 2:7            | A   
 17  15:54     |  Isa. 25:8           | Ad  
 18  15:55     |  Hos. 13:14          | Da  
* indicates not listed in Archer and Chirichigno

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