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New Testament Interpretation Through Rhetorical Criticism (Studies in Religion) Paperback – September 10, 1984

ISBN-13: 978-0807841204 ISBN-10: 080784120X Edition: 1st

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New Testament Interpretation Through Rhetorical Criticism (Studies in Religion) + New Testament Rhetoric: An Introductory Guide to the Art of Persuasion in and of the New Testament
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Product Details

  • Series: Studies in Religion
  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; 1 edition (September 10, 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080784120X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807841204
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #389,695 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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The single best introduction to some of the key rhetorical dimensions in the biblical text."Quarterly Journal of Speech"

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"The single best introduction to some of the key rhetorical dimensions in the biblical text."--Quarterly Journal of Speech

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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Martin W. Eldred on September 29, 2003
Format: Paperback
Few books have changed my thinking on any one particular subject as has this volume by Kennedy. I was trained in New Testament academics heavy on the German, largely Lutheran, "higher critical" method. While this methodology has strengths, it is based largely on the study of the written text as a literary document. That is all well and good, but Kennedy reminds us that these were most likely oral documents, transcriptions, if you will, of texts that were intended to be heard by the audiences to which they were written.
In other words, although the letters of the Apostle Paul were in fact written down and sent to the various congregations to which they are addressed, they were most likely experienced by that vast majority of people there as something that was read to them and not as something that they read. This oral presentation was based on a number of factors that we forget in the post-Guttenberg (printing press) era: The first century was an oral culture. Many people could not read, but even those who could expected to listen to texts as much as read them. Rhetoric, the art of oral persuasion, was held as the highest demonstration of a well-educated man (it was also a man's world).
Thus, to communicate within the framework of the Greco-Roman world, Kennedy maintains, Paul wrote rhetorically, with the intention that it would be listened to, like a sermon. Even the Gospels were written in this fashion, as long stories of Jesus to be heard in in one sitting among the communities of faith.
Studying the New Testament from a purely literary framework, therefore, without "listening" to the text as rhetoric, misses much of what the first century audiences would have know and appreciated.
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If you're doing work in NT and are doing anything with Rhetoric, this is your basic, foundational book. As an OT doctoral student, I found this particularly helpful when trying to navigate rhetorical criticism in NT texts (since rhetorical criticism is different in OT and NT). Easy read and helpful shelf reference.
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