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Matthew 24:4-14 - shown, not told


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One of my writing teachers taught the principle of "showing" more than "telling" through writing.


And this passage illustrates the principle.


There's a Hebraic rhythm of parallelisms, of phrases and also of clauses. The Hellene alliterations and rhymes seem to reinforce the syntax that is more Jewish-like than Greek-like. And the sets of events, a series of early ones, like the first set of contractions in a painful childbirth are punctuated with


πάντα δὲ ταῦτα ἀρχὴ ὠδίνων.


before the finale here


καὶ τότε ἥξει τὸ τέλος.


That ending passive voice verb robs all would-be preachers after Jesus of self-identification and of their agency in bringing in the end on their own, by themselves. In other words, Jesus already refers to the many who will come in his name saying "I AM" the Messiah. And here the subject of the verb is completely elided, at the end:


καὶ κηρυχθήσεται
τοῦτο τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τῆς βασιλείας ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ οἰκουμένῃ εἰς μαρτύριον πᾶσιν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν, καὶ τότε ἥξει τὸ τέλος.

His hearers and (we) Matthew's readers get it. Jesus is the one preaching here, like a pregnant mother contracting.

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