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Bullinger's Figures of Speech Used in the Bible

Parecbasis; or Digression

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A temporary Turning Aside from one Subject to another

Par-ek´-ba-sis. Greek, παρέκβασις, a digression, from παρα (para), beside, ἐκ (ek), out of, or from, and βάσις (basis), a stepping (from βαίνειν (bainein), to step).

A figure by which the speaker or writer steps from beside his subject, and makes a digression, changing his subject-matter, and adding something beyond the scope of his subject, though necessary to it. Sometimes this digression is mentioned, and a promise given to return to it again.

The figure was hence called by the Latins DIGRESSIO, or digression, and was known by other names among the Greeks:-

PARABASIS (par-ab´-a-sis), from the above roots, a stepping aside.

ECBOLE. Greek, ἐκβολή (ec´-bo-lee), a throwing out, from ἐκ (ek), out, and βάλλειν (ballein), to throw: hence, a digression in which a person is introduced speaking (or throwing out) his own words.

APHODOS. Greek, ἄφοδος (aph-od´-os), a going away from, from ἀπό (apo), away from, and ὅδος (hodos), a way.

The nature of this figure therefore is clear; and examples are not wanting in Scripture.

It is more than a mere Parenthesis (q.v. [Note: Which see.] ): being a digression to quite a different subject.

A parenthesis is really part of the same subject, but Parecbasis is a stepping aside to another.

Genesis 2:8-15, is a Parecbasis: i.e., a digression, or change of subject-matter, by which the provision made by God for mans habitation is described.

The original subject is then resumed in verse 16, from verse 7.

Genesis 36:1-43 is a Parecbasis, a turning aside from "the generations of Isaac" (Genesis 25:19-34; Genesis 26:1-35; Genesis 27:1-46; Genesis 28:1-22; Genesis 29:1-35; Genesis 30:1-43; Genesis 31:1-55; Genesis 32:1-32; Genesis 33:1-20; Genesis 34:1-31; Genesis 35:1-29) to "the generations of Esau" (Genesis 36:1-8), and "the generations of Esau, in Mount Seir," etc. (9-43) before continuing "the generations of Jacob" in 37.

Genesis 38:1-30 is a Parecbasis, a stepping aside from the history of Joseph in order to introduce an episode in the life of Judah. So that Josephs life, which began in 37, is not resumed till 39.

Romans 1:1-32 -The opening verses of this Epistle form a beautiful Parecbasis. It is caused by the structure of the Epistle: in which 1:2-6 has for its subject "Gods Gospel," which was never hidden, but was always revealed (corresponding with 16:25-27, the subject of which is "the Mystery," which was never revealed, but always hidden).

Chap. 1:1 is, therefore, properly part of the epistolary subject, which is resumed in verse 7 and continued to verse 15 (corresponding with the Epistolary portion at the end, 15:15-16:24): and chap. 1:2-6 is, therefore, a Parecbasis, and is thus made to correspond with the closing chap. 16:25-27* [Note: See the structure of the whole Epistle under Correspondence (page 385).] ; while verse 7 is the continuation of verse 1, and not of verse 6.

Such digressions as this often arise out of, and form part of, the Structures or Correspondences of which the Scripture is made up: and the figure Parecbasis must be studied in connection with them.

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Bibliography Information
Bullinger, E. W., D.D. Entry for 'Parecbasis; or Digression'. Bullinger's Figures of Speech Used in the Bible.

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Thursday, November 14th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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