Exercices d’analyse rhétorique biblique, RBSem 29

Roland Meynet – Jacek Oniszczuk, Exercices d’analyse rhétorique biblique. Deuxième édition revue, RBSem 29, Peeters, Leuven 2021 (360 p.).

These exercises are based on R. Meynet’s Treatise on Biblical Rhetoric. The Treatise is a kind of grammar, and everyone knows that one does not learn a language simply by reading or even by learning the rules of a grammar by heart: it takes patient training that requires many exercises! Many are interested in biblical rhetorical analysis and the results it can provide for a better understanding of the biblical texts; some are not satisfied with this, but would like to use the methodology themselves…

As with any profession, a serious apprenticeship is necessary! Ideally, one should train under the guidance of a competent teacher who can follow the work of the apprentice, advise him and correct him when necessary. This book offers itself as a guide, as a teacher.
There are first of all a series of exercises, organised in two levels: that of the passage (or “pericope”), then that of the “sequence” or structured set of passages. The text to be analysed is given in the original language and in a very literal translation; this is followed by some advice, in particular that of reading and studying this or that part of the Treatise which will be indispensable for the exercise in question; finally, a whole series of questions should enable the apprentice, if he so wishes, to discover for himself how the text is composed.

In the second part, the “solutions” to the exercises are given. The path suggested by the questions in the exercises is followed step by step. Thus, the solutions allow the student to check his own work.

This exercise book is not a book to be read, but to be written! To content oneself with reading the solutions before having done the exercise – as one might be tempted to do –  would not be of much use to those who want to learn to work seriously rather than to accumulate mere notions, which is – by far – not the same thing.