The Structure of Titus Criss-cross Chiasmus as Structural Marker -- By: Kevin Gary Smith

Journal: Conspectus
Volume: CONSPECTUS 03:1 (Mar 2007)
Article: The Structure of Titus Criss-cross Chiasmus as Structural Marker
Author: Kevin Gary Smith


The Structure of Titus
Criss-cross Chiasmus as Structural Marker

Kevin Gary Smith1

Abstract

In terms of structure, Titus is one of the most neatly crafted epistles in the New Testament, its key structural marker has gone largely unnoticed in scholarly literature. In this article, I set forth a proposal that criss-cross chiasmus provides the structural skeleton around which the letter is built. I point out three occurrences of this technique in the letter and illustrate how it might be used as the primary organising principle of the letter’s macrostructure.

1. Introduction

Until recently, almost nothing had been written about the structure of Titus. I find this surprising, for it may well be the most delicately structured of all Paul’s letters. Three recent works (Clark 2002, Van Neste 2002 and 2004) have tackled the structure of Titus by analysing the discourse features of the letter.

Despite the undoubted contribution that both Clark (2002) and Van Neste (2002 and 2004) have made to our understanding of the discourse features of Titus, neither of their proposals as to the macrostructure of Titus seems to give sufficient consideration to a key structural technique used in the letter—a form of criss-cross chiasmus.

In this article, I shall set forth a proposal that criss-cross chiasmus provides the structural skeleton around which the letter is built. I shall point out three occurrences of this technique in the letter and illustrate how it might be used as the primary organising principle of the letter’s macrostructure. In the next article, I shall analyse the linguistic clues within the letter that corroborate the contention that the author deliberately use criss-cross chiasm to organise this letter.

2. Review of Scholarship

2.1 The Traditional View

Few commentaries grapple in a meaningful way with the structure of Titus. The overwhelming majority accept the traditional view of the letter’s structure. The traditional view holds that the body of the letter, Titus 1:5–3:11, consists of three sections:

1:5-16Establishing leadership in the churches

2:1-15Household code for various groups

3:1-11Christian behavioural standards

With minor variations, the major commentaries accept this breakdown of the str...

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