Confused Rhetoric: Assessing and Clarifying Rhetorical Criticism(s) of the Pauline Epistles Open Access

McGee, Zane (2016)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/1831ck16b?locale=en
Published

Abstract

Since the mid-twentieth century, the field of biblical studies has witnessed an explosive growth of critical methods that employ novel technique to the analysis of biblical texts. One such approach to emerge (or, re-emerge) is rhetorical criticism, which aims to assess the persuasive function of these religious writings. This method is particularly well- suited for the analysis of the Pauline epistles. With their impassioned tone, personal appeals, and persuasive force, these letters provide a prime specimen for examining Paul's rhetorical strategies. Difficulty arises, however, when one begins to speak of the rhetorical criticism of these letters and how the argumentation within can be examined. Some researchers propose utilizing the rhetorical standards established in ancient Greece as a pattern for Paul's persuasive tactics. Others appeal to content over form, finding the argumentative efficacy of Paul's writings in the imagery and allusions employed within. Still others examine Paul's arguments utilizing informal, rather than formal, persuasive techniques. Each of the above approaches, and others, find aegis under the term "rhetorical criticism," suggesting that it is more appropriate to speak of rhetorical criticisms in light of the above diversity in this discipline.

This study explores this diversity in two parts. First, the methods and theoretical assumptions of three common rhetorical approaches are examined in order to demonstrate the wide divergence present between these various approaches at the methodological level. Then, the study applies each of these methods to a common text (1 Cor 9) to demonstrate that these front end differences result in differing foci and conclusions when engaging in exegetical research. This two pronged approach will more fully illustrate the diversity of this field. Finally, the project concludes by offering suggestions for pursuing clarity when speaking of and practicing "rhetorical criticism" of the letters of Paul.

Table of Contents

CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION -- Pg. 1
CHAPTER 2 THE WORLD BEHIND THE TEXT: CLASSICAL RHETORIC AND THE PAULINE EPISTLES -- Pg. 7
CHAPTER 3 THE WORLD OF THE TEXT: INTERTEXTUALITY AND THE TEXTURE OF PAUL'S LETTERS -- Pg. 19
CHAPTER 4 THE WORLD IN FRONT OF THE TEXT: PAUL'S LETTERS AND INFORMAL PERSUASION -- Pg. 33
CHAPTER 5 APPLICATION OF RHETORICAL METHODS -- Pg. 46
CHAPTER 6 CONCLUSION -- Pg. 79

About this Master's Thesis

Rights statement
  • Permission granted by the author to include this thesis or dissertation in this repository. All rights reserved by the author. Please contact the author for information regarding the reproduction and use of this thesis or dissertation.
School
Department
Degree
Submission
Language
  • English
Research field
Keyword
Committee Chair / Thesis Advisor
Committee Members
Last modified

Primary PDF

Supplemental Files