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Bible Lexicons

Bullinger's Figures of Speech Used in the Bible

Epanorthosis; or Correction

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A Recalling of what has been said, in order to correct it as by an Afterthought

Ep´-a-nor-thô-sis. Greek, ἐπανόρθωσις, from ἐπί (epi), upon, ἀνά (ana), up or again, and ὀρθοῦν (orthoun), to set straight (from ὀρθός (orthos), straight).

Hence Epanorthosis means a setting upright again.

The figure is so called when a writer or speaker has said something, and immediately recalls it in order to substitute something better, or stronger, or weightier, in its place, thus correcting what has been said. Hence the Latins called this figure CORRECTIO, correction.

The Greeks had other names for it, owing to its beauty and power, and also to the frequency of its employment. They called it

DIORTHOSIS (di-or-thô´-sis), from διά (dia), through, and ὀρθοῦν (orthoun), to set straight.

EPIDIORTHOSIS (ep´-i-di-or-thô´-sis). The above name with ἐπί (epi), upon, prefixed.

METANŒA (met´-a-nœ-a), an after-thought, from μετανοέω (meta-noeô), to change ones mind.

Epanorthosis is of three kinds:

1. Where the retraction is absolute.

2. Where it is partial or relative.

3. Where it is conditional.

1. Where the Retraction is Absolute

Mark 9:24.-"Lord, I believe; [but, remembering his weakness, the speaker immediately corrects this great profession of faith, and says] help thou mine unbelief."

John 12:27.-The Lord Jesus prays as perfect man, "Father, save me from this hour: [and then, remembering, as perfect God, the work which He had come to do, He adds] but for this cause came I unto this hour."

See under Metonymy.

Romans 14:4.-"Who art thou* [Note: See under Apostrophe.] that judgest another mans servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. [And then, remembering the blessed fact of the security of such an one, and the provision made for all his need, the Apostle adds] Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand."

2. Where it is Partial or Relative

This phase of the figure has been called COLLATIO, Collation.

Proverbs 6:16.-"These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him." See chap. 30:15, 18.

Matthew 11:9.-"But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? (and then, as though correcting it and them, the Lord adds), yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet."

John 16:32.-"Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own home." (See A.V. [Note: The Authorized Version, or current Text of our English Bible, 1611.] margin.)

Then another Epanorthosis immediately follows:-

"and shall leave me alone; [with respect to men, but not with respect to God. Therefore we have the Epanorthosis], and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me."

Acts 26:27.-"King Agrippa, believest thou the prophet? I know that thou believest."

1 Corinthians 7:10.-"And unto the married I command: yet not I but the Lord."

See also under Zeugma.

1 Corinthians 15:10.-"I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me."

Galatians 1:6.-"I marvel that ye are so soon removed unto another (ἕτερος, a different) Gospel. Which is not another (ἄλλος, another of the same kind)."

Galatians 2:20.-"Nevertheless I live: yet not I, but Christ liveth in me."

See under Zeugma, Epanadiplosis, and Polyptoton.

Galatians 4:9.-"But now, after that ye have known God: or rather are known of God."

2 Timothy 4:8.-"Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: [then comes a beautiful Epanorthosis] and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing."

1 John 2:2.-"And he is the propitiation for our sins: [then comes the Epanorthosis, pointing out that He was the Propitiation for Gentiles as well as Jews, so John adds], and not for ours only, but also for the whole world."

See especially under Synecdoche and Metonymy.

3. Where it is Conditional

Galatians 3:4.-"Have ye suffered so many things in vain?-If it be yet in vain."


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Bibliography Information
Bullinger, E. W., D.D. Entry for 'Epanorthosis; or Correction'. Bullinger's Figures of Speech Used in the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/lexicons/bullinger/81.

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Thursday, October 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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