Repetition in the Bible
by Gioacchino Michael Cascione
edited by David Kuske, Robert Dargatz, Rolf Preus
Repetition in the Bible is the first book to address the subject of repetition in the Hebrew Bible and the Greek New Testament. Repetition in the Bible:
- Documents repetition in the writings of Moses repeated by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and found throughout the Bible
- Explores the source, purpose, and configuration of this repetition
This is not a book about what the Bible says, but how it is written. It is hoped that the reader will gain an understanding and appreciation of the Bible’s unique concept and application of repetition.
Repetition in the Bible synthesizes the research of Moshe David Umberto Cassuto, Dr. Diana Jill Kirby, Eyal Rav-Noy, and the author, Gioacchino Michael Cascione.
Repetition in the Bible:
- Examines repetition in both the Hebrew and New Testament Greek texts of the Bible
- Evaluates the text as a literary artifact
- Identifies Hebraic meter in the Hebrew and New Testament Greek, confirming the original text and correct variant readings
- Quotes more than 5,000 verses as evidence of repetition in the Bible
- Translates all repetition from the Greek and Hebrew into English
- Concludes that heptadic, decadal, and dodecadal meters (repetitions of 7, 10, and 12) in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John have their source in Genesis and Exodus
- Confirms the accuracy of the Vulgate over the Septuagint in agreement with the Masoretic Text
- Traces Hebraic meter in the genealogies of the Pentateuch, Ruth, Matthew, and Luke, and the postexilic records of Ezra and Nehemiah
- Applies aesthetic analysis to confirm the Pentateuch is the work of one author
The repetition of words and phrases is found in paragraphs, chapters, sections, entire books, and in some instances the entire Pentateuch.
Implication of Repetition in the Bible
The existence of undisturbed meter in the text necessarily means we possess the original text. Translators of the Septuagint were apparently not aware of the meter in the text or chose not to record it. However, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John copy Moses’ Hebraic meter in their Greek text. Jerome’s Vulgate preserves some of the meter that is missing from the Septuagint but found in the Masoretic Text.
3 Important Authors on Repetition
After publishing the 1987 and 2012 editions of In Search of the Biblical Order, the work of identifying, naming, and understanding repetition in the Bible was aided by the research of 3 scholars.
The author is indebted to Rabbi Eyal Rav-Noy, author of Who Really Wrote the Bible?, who introduced him to the writings of Moshe David Umberto Cassuto. In his book Rav-Noy published chiasm and metered words from the Pentateuch.
Moshe David Umberto Cassuto served as the Vatican archivist of Semitic scrolls from 1925 until he escaped from the Nazis and arrived in Jerusalem in 1938. His son was captured and killed. Cassuto, whose writings are given little credence today, is arguably the most skilled Semitic and ancient Near Eastern linguist of the 20th century. Cassuto’s three commentaries demonstrate individual metered words in Genesis and Exodus, while his series of 8 lectures, published as The Documentary Hypothesis, defends Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch. He published his first commentary on Genesis in Hebrew in 1944, and continued writing until his death in 1951.
Doctor Diana Jill Kirby’s dissertation, presented at American University in Washington, DC, was the first to publish the taxonomy of repetition in Revelation. Kirby applies Meir Sternberg’s taxonomy of repetition from The Poetics of the Biblical Narrative to John’s Revelation. Sternberg confirms that there is no external source or explanation for repetition in the Hebrew Bible. Kirby’s brilliant application and expansion of Sternberg’s taxonomy of repetition to Revelation verifies that John is copying Moses’ Hebraic meter, and that repetition is a biblical genre. Unknown to each other, Cassuto and Kirby produced similar data. Cascione became aware of Kirby’s work in 2013, and includes an entire chapter on her research.
Gioacchino Michael Cascione published In Search of the Biblical Order in 1987 and a significantly expanded second edition in 2012. Beginning his research in 1978, Cascione’s Repetition in the Bible arrives at an unexpected explanation for the data. The search for the biblical order was always a search for repetition in the Bible. By utilizing his academic training in the fine arts; experience teaching as an art professor at the University of Southern Indiana; and training in Hebrew and Greek exegesis, Cascione concludes that biblical repetition confirms the authenticity of the text.
Repetition: An Ancient Genre
Hershel Shanks, the editor of Biblical Archaeology Review, makes the following and appropriate comment about his magazine:
“Biblical Archaeology Review covers the latest archaeological discoveries in the lands of the Bible, presenting finds in a scientific, nondenominational style and theories in an accessible and approachable fashion. Our diverse readers are fascinated with historical records and the Bible as a literary, historical and religious text.”
In keeping with Shanks’ goal for his magazine, Repetition in the Bible gives the reader considerable evidence of Hebraic meter throughout the Hebrew and Greek texts of the Bible.
The Art of Repetition
In many respects, Repetition in the Bible is about the aesthetics of repetition in the Bible. As an archaeological artifact, the Bible employs repetition as a highly-developed Hebraic genre. In addition to analyzing the data, the reader has the opportunity to visualize the shape of repetition in the text. Cascione explores the concurrent symmetry and asymmetry, syncopation, and abstraction of repetition in the Hebrew and Greek texts.
Repetition in the Text: A Subject Long Ignored
Despite the significance and enormity of repetition in the Bible, there is scant study of the repetition in the Hebrew text, and virtually nothing published on Greek New Testament repetition. The obscurity and paucity of information have even prevented agreement on a definition of repetition in the Bible. E. W. Bullinger’s 1,004-page tome, Figures of Speech Used in the Bible, first published in 1898, catalogs 217 figures of speech in the Bible. For Repetitio (Latin for repetition) he lists 3½ pages of examples with nothing similar to the repetition in this volume.
The early church fathers do not make reference to the presence of repetition in the text. Therefore, ancient copyists were unaware that they were copying and preserving Hebraic repetition in every scroll they reproduced.
Scholars Who Assisted the Author
After reviewing some initial data on repetition in the Gospels, Professor David Kuske encouraged Cascione to begin work on a new book. Rolf Preus and Professor Robert Dargatz provided valuable assistance and direction—Preus through his expertise on the Doctrine of the Bible and Dargatz with his experience in Old Testament studies. Book dealer, author, chronologist, and theologian James B. Jordan recommended books on chiasmus in the Bible by John Breck and David Dorsey, who also confirmed the presence and importance of repetition in the Bible.
Authenticating the Correct Reading with Repetition
Cascione searched the following 9 Greek texts for variant readings that complete Hebraic meter in the New Testament Greek Bible:
BNT, Nestle-Aland’s Greek New Testament, 27th edition
BYZ, the Majority or the Byzantine texts edited by Arthur Farstad and Zane C. Hodges
GNT, the United Bible Society Greek Text
GOC, the Greek Text of the Greek Orthodox Church
SCR, F. H. A. Scrivener
STE, Stephanus, also known as Textus Receptus, edited by Erasmus
TIS, Lobegott Friedrich Constantin (von) Tischendorf
VST, Hermann von Soden
WHO, Brooke Foss Westcott and Fenton John Anthony Hort
More Data Remains to be Collected
The full extent of repetition in the Bible is as yet unknown. The study of repetition first led to an investigation of the Hebrew and Greek texts, the Septuagint, the Apocrypha, the Vulgate, the Pseudepigrapha, and the Gnostic Gospels.
There is always the question of whether to publish or to continue the research. There are so many areas that require further study, and so much data to evaluate, such a task would extend beyond the life of the author. Therefore the goal is not to master the subject, but to demonstrate its existence. Readers of this book are invited to join the expedition and explore repetition in the Bible for themselves. At this time Cascione has identified repetition in every book of the Hebrew Bible and the Greek New Testament.
The enormity of data led the author to focus on Genesis, Exodus, the 4 Gospels, and Revelation, with a limited examination of Song of Solomon. There is also a brief examination of the Pentateuch, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, Numbers, Daniel, and Ezekiel.
Encounter with God
The author concludes that Moses, who experienced God on Mount Sinai, leads the reader to his own encounter with God through the genre of Hebraic meter.
The First Book to Record Repetition in the Bible
This is the first book to research, record, and compare repetition in the Old and New Testaments as found in the original Hebrew and Greek.
Repetition Unique to the Bible
The permeation of repetition in every Hebrew and Greek book of the Bible establishes a literary genre and unity unique to the Bible. The presence of repetition also confirms the uncompromised authenticity and authority of the Bible’s text. The text we read is the text the prophets and apostles wrote.
Monuments versus Scrolls
The mysteries of the pyramids pale by comparison to the mysteries of how repetition was written into the Bible. The Egyptians built stone monuments to achieve immortality, while their slaves pursued the same goal through the word of God they recorded on sacred scrolls. Immediately after crossing the Red Sea, Moses writes, Until Thy people pass over, O LORD, Until the people pass over whom Thou hast purchased. Thou wilt bring them and plant them in the mountain of Thine inheritance, The place, O LORD, which Thou hast made for Thy dwelling, The sanctuary, O Lord, which Thy hands have established (Exodus 15:16b-17 NASB).
Repetition in the Gospels
The first 4 chapters of this book record repetition in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Repetition in the Gospels follows the same repetition found in Genesis. At times, identical repetition is found in 2 or more of the Gospels. In other instances, all 4 Gospels repeat the same phrasing from Genesis.
Repetition Addresses a Wide Range of Subjects
A study of repetition in the Bible leads to an examination of genealogy, chronology, the history of ancient mathematics, Babel, the antediluvian and postdiluvian patriarchs, the Babylonian legacy of recording time, the tȏledȏth [generations] formulas, the Tabernacle, variant readings in ancient Greek manuscripts, chiasm, the taxonomy of repetition, asymmetric versus symmetric order, the Documentary Hypothesis, ancient manuscript authentication, the Gnostic Gospels, the so-called lost Gospel of Q (sayings of Jesus), the “theorized” Markan Priority, and the alleged influence of the Septuagint and the Vulgate on the Masoretic Text.
Comments from the 3 Editors
- The evident repetition by the New Testament Greek of the pattern established 15 centuries earlier in Moses’ Hebrew gives further affirmation of the unity of Scripture – and in so doing, it establishes a corollary of verbal inspiration as well as a clear refutation of any attempt to classify the Bible as an accumulation of purely human writings. A must-read for anyone who does biblical study.
- Rev. Professor David Kuske, professor emeritus of New Testament Theology at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, Mequon, WI.
- Cascione’s research has taken a further step in identifying Hebraic meter first used in the Pentateuch and then carried through the rest of the Bible. This meter, like chiasm, has been virtually invisible until recent times. Few scholars such as Umberto Moshe David Cassuto, Eyal Rav-Noy, and Diana Jill Kirby, whose research Cascione has combined with his own, have ventured to investigate repetition in the Bible.
- Rev. Professor Robert Dargatz, former professor of Old Testament Studies and chairman of the Religion Division at Concordia University Irvine, California, and Pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Orange, CA, elected to the LCMS Commission on Theology and Church Relations.
- Cascione utterly destroys the documentary hypothesis that has prevailed in academia for generations. He demonstrates the integrity of the biblical text from Hebraic meter within the text itself.
- Rev. Rolf Preus, theologian, pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church, Sidney, MT, and St. John Lutheran Church, Fairview, MT.
- Biblical Chronologist James B. Jordan
I highly recommend this book, as I also do Cascione’s earlier “In Search of the Biblical Order.” Anyone working with the text of the Bible should have both of these close-at-hand at all times.
- Rev. Professor James B. Jordan, Director, Biblical Horizons Ministries, and Scholar-in-Residence, Theopolis Institute