Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
New Testament Rhetoric: An Introductory Guide to the Art of Persuasion in and of the New Testament Paperback – January 1, 2009
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Top Customer Reviews
He gives a brief history of rhetoric, noting the manuals of Aristotle and Quintilian. He highlights the five elements of a rhetorical discourse: the exordium, which makes the audience more open to the material that follows, the narratio, which is an explanation of the facts relevant to the discussion, the propositio, which is the thesis statement, the probatio, which enumerates the arguments for the propositio, and is sometimes followed by the refutatio, which are the arguments against the propositio (we see this to a certain degree in Paul's letter to the Romans), and finally, the peroratio, which sums up the major arguments and makes a closing appeal to the hearer.
There is a chapter discussing the gospels of Mark and Luke, which Ben identifies as gospels of persuasion. He notes that Luke is a much more elegant rhetorician than Mark. Mark uses chreia (sayings, such as found in 6:1-6) and parables and comparisons, while Luke has a full blown rhetorically shaped exordium in 1:1-4, while his parables pack a powerful rhetorical punch.
Ben also mentions the rhetorical flourishes in the speeches in Acts.Read more ›
Witherington, who is always good, manages to explain how rhetoric was used in language that is accessible for even the most casual student of the New Testament.
Make no mistake about it, the ancient world relied more on orality than the written word. Rhetoric was considered one of the most basic of educational lessons; indeed, Witherington argues that "most of the NT owes far more to rhetoric ..than it ever owed to the nascent practice of writing letter essays" (p 5).
There are many examples of rhetorical devices used by Paul and others. Luke, using the most elegant Greek in the NT, indicates how "Stephen's demise closely parallels that of his master Jesus" (p 55). Witherington argues that many scholars have stumbled badly when trying to interpret Stephen's speech, because of a lack of knowledge of the standard rhetorical devices in ancient times. (Bultmann, of course, flies to mind).
One consideration to ponder is that literacy must have been "a criteria for Christian leadership in the early church" (p 97). It's clear that all the NT writers had been well educated, and were likely to have been among the top 5-10% in regards to educational background.
Ben Sira had insisted that all male children be taught to read scripture. How many actually did is debatable (for a good book on this subject, see "Reading and Writing in the Time of Jesus".) It is clear from the hodgepodge of Aramaic, Hebrew, and Greek inscriptions in Israel at the time that the majority of Jews appear, at least, to have been bilingual. And there is evidence of Greek shorthand as well.Read more ›