Tag Archives: Parallelism

Style in Religious Discourse: An Analysis of the Beatitudes (Published)

This study uses the linguistic stylistic theory to examine the use of language in the Beatitudes. This is carried out in order to demonstrate to readers that a speaker can deploy language to achieve stylistic effects. The study uses stylistic and content analysis to analyse the linguistic choices used by the speaker in the Beatitudes. The study reveals that each of the Beatitudes is a brief meaningful proverb-like proclamation of blessings. Each line of the Beatitudes has three parts: an ascription of blessedness, a description of the person’s character and a statement of the reason for the blessedness. The first eight sentences comprise two main clauses joined by a coordinator ‘for’, making them compound sentences. Line nine of the Beatitudes deviates from the rest of the lines. It has a single ascription with three conditions which are requirements for the blessedness. The verb to be form ‘are’, is the main form used in the first clauses of the Beatitudes and ‘Blessed’ is the ‘Subject’ throughout the text. The analysis identified three types of parallelism used in the beatitudes namely whole text parallelism, inter-sentential parallelism and intra-sentential parallelism. The use of these types of parallelism improves writing style, readability and comprehension of the text. It was also found that parallelism carried the idea of semantic equality of sentences and clauses within the Beatitudes, performed an emotive function on the reader, and created a satisfying rhythm in the language used by the speaker. The  paper  found  out  that  each  of  the linguistic choices  has identifiable function  that  is performed  in the  Beatitudes. It is concluded that these linguistic elements contribute meaningfully to the thrust of the overall message of the Beatitudes which assures people of high religious virtues to serve faithfully in order to receive blessing in the near future, and that the manipulation of words by a writer creates a distinct style through which he/she reaches out to the audience.

Keywords: Beatitudes, Christianity, Jesus, Parallelism, Style, Stylistic Analysis