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Title: Engaging with γάρ : a relevance-theoretic approach to the connective's communicative role in Romans
Author: Casson, Sarah
ISNI:       0000 0004 7963 9113
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2017
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Harnessing innovative insights from cognitive pragmatics, this thesis examines the role of the Greek connective γάρ in the letter to the Romans. Traditional accounts which explain γάρ as "causal", using the English gloss "for", are inadequate. Γάρ occurs frequently in Romans, at pivotal points, but is treated inconsistently in exegesis. The thesis uses the framework of relevance theory and its notion of procedural meaning to suggest a consistent, cognitively grounded account of the communicative role of γάρ. The first half of the study presents the findings of the analysis undertaken. It demonstrates a unified explanation of all occurrences of γάρ in Romans, showing that its core function is procedural, guiding towards the inferential procedure of strengthening. Γάρ is not a whiteboard onto which interpreters can impose their prior perspective, but a crucial signpost guiding towards communicator intentions. The second half of the thesis demonstrates how this procedural account transforms the connective's contribution to the interpretation of Romans. Firstly, it enables us to decide between major exegetical options in contested passages such as Romans 4:1-2 and 10:4-5. Secondly, in the pivotal passages 1:15-18 and 15:7-13, it throws light on the centre and thrust of the epistle's argument, and on its purpose. We argue that interpretations which overlook γάρ as inferential signpost at such major argumentative crossroads are in danger of arriving at the wrong destination. Similarly undermined are readings which ride roughshod over the indications γάρ gives of close continuity with the preceding co-text. So too are interpretations which, by focusing on weighty but supporting theological statements, miss the main thrust of the argument. Meanwhile our analysis supports a context-specific reading of the letter's purpose as a response to tensions confronting believers in Rome. We finish by following the guidance γάρ gives to trace afresh the argumentative path of Romans 1-4.
Supervisor: Adams, Edward ; Georgakopoulou-Nunes, Alexandra Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available