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Thread: Using the Literary Present when quoting Scripture?

  1. #1

    Default Using the Literary Present when quoting Scripture?

    As a general rule, when writing about writers or artists as they express themselves in their work, one should use the present tense. For example,

    As Paul writes in Galatians, "Grace and peace "

    My question: when quoting Scripture, should I use the literary present?

    Or, should I stick to the past tense, which is common to historical documents?

    Thanks for your help,
    -steve.

    (If you don't know, then please don't offer advice; I'm writing this in hopes of finding someone who has the final word. Thanks!!)

  2. #2

    Default literary present?

    Quote Originally Posted by deut3221 View Post
    My question: when quoting Scripture, should I use the literary present? Or, should I stick to the past tense, which is common to historical documents?
    There is no definitive answer to this question, but here's what editors have asked of me most recently:

    Use the past tense for a historical author, and use the present tense for the literary work itself, as follows:
    • Paul warned the Galatians, "Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap" (Gal 6:7).
    • Galatians warns us, "Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap" (6:7).
    And that seems to make pretty good sense. One editor expressed strong disapproval of using the present tense for something like the first example.

    Dale A. Brueggemann

    כִּי עֶזְרָא הֵכִין לְבָבוֹ לִדְרוֹשׁ אֶת־תּוֹרַת יְהוָה וְלַעֲשֹׂת וּלְלַמֵּד בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל חֹק וּמִשְׁפָּט (Ezra 7:10)


  3. #3

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Dale A. Brueggemann View Post
    There is no definitive answer to this question, but
    Thank you very much Mr. Brueggemann. Good insights. Very helpful and informative! Thanks again and

    Best regards,
    -steve.

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