The Proper Order Of Things

I’m working on an essay that I plan to submit to an open access journal that publishes stuff on the Hebrew Bible. But every time I read my evolving but nearly complete drafts, I worry that there is something wrong with my argument. I don’t worry about the logic of the argument (my logic is always unassailable Happy Face) or the evidence (the evidence is overwhelming Happy Face) but I do worry about the order of presentation. My argument depends on the convergence of four evidence motivated lines of thought, ideas. For each idea, I must present and develop the evidence. As far as I can determine each of these four ideas is of approximately equal importance, none of them relies on any of the others in any interesting or important way and length of presentation is nearly equal, about four pages each. But no matter how I order them, they always seem to be in a sub-optimal order. I try to motivate all four ideas in my introductory discussion of methodology. But still, things just don’t feel right. As I now have it the outline (in outline) is something like this.
I. Introduction
      A. The problem
      B. History of interpretation
           (how others solved the problem)
      C. How I plan to solve the problem
           (using the convergence of four ideas)
II. Development of evidence motivated ideas
      A. First idea
      B. Second idea
      C. Third idea
      D. Forth idea

III. Discussion of how these four evidence motivated ideas provide an interesting and important solution to the problem.

IV. QED Happy Face
But I really wish I could do something like this:
I. Introduction
      A. The problem
      B. History of interpretation
            (how others solved the problem)
      C. How I plan to solve the problem
            (using the convergence of four ideas)
II. Development of evidence motivated ideas
      First idea.      Second idea.      Third idea      Forth idea
            (in four separate columns)

III. Discussion of how these four evidence motivated ideas provide an interesting and important solution to the problem.

IV. QED Happy Face
But then I doubt that such an approach would result in a readable essay and I’d still be worrying about the right to left ordering of the columns. Because I hope to publish this in electronic format, perhaps I should ask the publisher to deliver my essay with the four ideas randomizes every time someone downloads it or even every time someone opens it or every half hour.
Oh, well. Back to work.

3 thoughts on “The Proper Order Of Things”

  1. Tim and Brooke,
    Those are both great ideas. Perhaps if the square rotated from time to time or the tetrahedron turned of its axis, these thoughts would be even better. I’ll check with the publisher and see what they think. I hope the two of you won’t mind if I give your ideas proper attribution. Anything less would betray intellectual dishonesty on my part.

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