What is it about?

Ancient Greek manuscripts of St. Paul's Epistles were composed in a coninuous script of all capital letters with no spacing between terms and without punctuation. Authors dictated their work to a scribe who composed the continuous transcriptions. A reading performance of the script served to articulate a cohesive sense of the work thus producing a coherent reading rendition. The variety of reading renditions, each differently scored with ideosyncratic punctuation, supported the production of quotations. These cultivated and harvested quotes, while useful for authorizing sectarian discourse, rarely convey the sense of the phrase in the continuous script. The author is critical of Augustine’s method of employing plainer passages to resolve ambiguities, because based on the author's semiotic analysis, plainer passages are themselves produced by reading renditions. The textual analysis of what is assessed to be a plainer quotable passage at 1 Cor. 7:1b of Paul's stated support of male celibacy. The author argues the passage is the product of interpretative scoring of the script in service to the discursive endeavor that privileges celibate males in positions of authority in Christian instititions. Alternative readings are offered that rescore the script and produce a reading that notes that the phrase "It is good for a man to not touch a woman" is an obvious quotation from the letter to Paul from Corinth, that the hasty conclusion of sentence separates the clause "because of pornia" that complete the proposed position. And that what follows is Paul's reply that counters the declaration with an egalitarian conception of hetereosexual marriage and co-dominating sexual relations, with a characterization that the quoted declaration expesses a temptation to men seeking privilege at the disadvantage of women. To quote and attribute the phrase quoted by Paul in 1 Cor 7:1b & 2a in his reply to the Corinthians as Paul's position on the matter of male celibacy as "good" would be to misattribute the phrase quoted by Paul. In other words, to quote the phrase as Paul's position would be to mis-quote the Epistle.

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Why is it important?

Christian discourses draws heavily upon quotations from scripture for supportive content and as a means for authorizing ecclesiastical social and political institutions. But the quotations are themselves products of discursive ventures fashioned out of the script for the purpose of supporting a specific venture.

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This page is a summary of: The Sense of Quoting, Brill Research Perspectives in Biblical Interpretation, December 2017, Brill,
DOI: 10.1163/24057657-12340010.
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