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Antithetic Parallelism

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Antithetic Parallelism

Apr-06-2001 at 11:31 AM (UTC+3 Nineveh, Assyria)

Shlama Akhay Myaqreh,

This post will address what is known, in Semitic prose, as Antithetic Parallelism, a fancy scholarly term which describes when a second line contrasts the terms used in the first line.

There are, in fact, four types of Parallelisms in the prose of Maran Eshoa and others found throughout the Gospels. These are:


  • Antithetic - discussed in this post, when a second line contrasts the terms used in the first line
  • Synonymous - where there is a correspondence in idea between 2 lines of a couplet, the 2nd line reinforcing and echoing the sense of the 1st in equivalent, though different, terms.
  • Synthetic - where the thought of the 2nd line supplements and completes that of the first
  • Climactic - where the second line is not a complete echo of the first, but adds something more which completes the 1st, thus forming its climax

Examples of Antithetic Parallelisms

In Matti 3:12, the words of Yukhanan Ma'amdana -

"Whose winnowing-basket is in his hand,
And he will cleanse his threshing-floor,
And gather his wheat into the granaries,
But he will burn the chaff with unquenchable fire"


In the Prologue of the Gospel of Yukhanan, verse 18 -

"No man has ever seen God,
The only-Begotten, who is in the Bosom of the Father, he has declared him"

In Yukhanan 3:27 -

"A man can receive nothing,
except it be given to him from Heaven"

In Yukhanan 1:36, we have 2 lines which form an Antithetic Parallelism, followed by a 3rd line that forms a climax to the whole verse -

"He that believes in the Son has everlasting life,
but he who does not obey the Son will not see life,
rather the wrath of God will rise up against him."


Many more examples of this can be found, and are too many to list.

I will post some examples of the other types in separate posts.


Fk^rwbw 0ml4

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Assyria \ã-'sir-é-ä\ n (1998)   1:  an ancient empire of Ashur   2:  a democratic state in Bet-Nahren, Assyria (northern Iraq, northwestern Iran, southeastern Turkey and eastern Syria.)   3:  a democratic state that fosters the social and political rights to all of its inhabitants irrespective of their religion, race, or gender   4:  a democratic state that believes in the freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture in faithfulness to the principles of the United Nations Charter — Atour synonym

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Assyrian \ã-'sir-é-an\ adj or n (1998)   1:  descendants of the ancient empire of Ashur   2:  the Assyrians, although representing but one single nation as the direct heirs of the ancient Assyrian Empire, are now doctrinally divided, inter sese, into five principle ecclesiastically designated religious sects with their corresponding hierarchies and distinct church governments, namely, Church of the East, Chaldean, Maronite, Syriac Orthodox and Syriac Catholic.  These formal divisions had their origin in the 5th century of the Christian Era.  No one can coherently understand the Assyrians as a whole until he can distinguish that which is religion or church from that which is nation -- a matter which is particularly difficult for the people from the western world to understand; for in the East, by force of circumstances beyond their control, religion has been made, from time immemorial, virtually into a criterion of nationality.   3:  the Assyrians have been referred to as Aramaean, Aramaye, Ashuraya, Ashureen, Ashuri, Ashuroyo, Assyrio-Chaldean, Aturaya, Chaldean, Chaldo, ChaldoAssyrian, ChaldoAssyrio, Jacobite, Kaldany, Kaldu, Kasdu, Malabar, Maronite, Maronaya, Nestorian, Nestornaye, Oromoye, Suraya, Syriac, Syrian, Syriani, Suryoye, Suryoyo and Telkeffee. — Assyrianism verb

Aramaic \ar-é-'máik\ n (1998)   1:  a Semitic language which became the lingua franca of the Middle East during the ancient Assyrian empire.   2:  has been referred to as Neo-Aramaic, Neo-Syriac, Classical Syriac, Syriac, Suryoyo, Swadaya and Turoyo.

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