Complete Story


Summer 2000, pages 35-54

Luther's Use of Doublets

Abstract: Martin Luther's early writings and sermons contain the frequent use of a stylistic feature I call doublets. While there are several variations possible, doublets usually connect two words of the same grammatical formfinite verbs, adjectives or adverbs, and substantiveswith a coordinate conjunction. Rather than necessarily diffusing audience attention, as one contemporary scholar suggests, or typically sacrificing vivacity, as is the concern of an eighteenth-century theorist, Luther's doubletswhen we examine them in contextare an effective tool for consolidating mental focus and strengthening adherence to a thesis. The medieval practice of enarratio, his familiarity with the parallelism and doubling in scripture, and his work with bible translation all probably contributed to Luther's tendency to use doublets

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