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New Testament Rhetoric: An Introduction Guide to the Art of Persuasion in and of the New Testament [Paperback]

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Item Number 323509  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   274
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9" Width: 5.9" Height: 0.7"
Weight:   0.85 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 1, 2009
Publisher   Cascade Books
ISBN  1556359292  
EAN  9781556359293  


Availability  1 units.
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Item Description...
Overview
Witherington provides a much-needed introduction to the ancient art of persuasion and its use within the various New Testament documents. More than just an exploration of the use of the ancient rhetorical tools and devices, this guide introduces the reader to all that went into convincing an audience about some subject. Witherington makes the case that rhetorical criticism is a more fruitful approach to the NT epistles than the oft-employed approaches of literary and discourse criticism. Familiarity with the art of rhetoric also helps the reader explore non-epistolary genres. In addition to the general introduction to rhetorical criticism, the book guides readers through the many and varied uses of rhetoric in most NT documents-not only telling readers about rhetoric in the NT, but showing them the way it was employed."This brief guide book is intended to provide the reader with an entrance into understanding the rhetorical analysis of various parts of the NT, the value such studies bring for understanding what is being proclaimed and defended in the NT, and how Christ is presented in ways that would be considered persuasive in antiquity."

Publishers Description
Description: Witherington provides a much-needed introduction to the ancient art of persuasion and its use within the various New Testament documents. More than just an exploration of the use of the ancient rhetorical tools and devices, this guide introduces the reader to all that went into convincing an audience about some subject. Witherington makes the case that rhetorical criticism is a more fruitful approach to the NT epistles than the oft-employed approaches of literary and discourse criticism. Familiarity with the art of rhetoric also helps the reader explore non-epistolary genres. In addition to the general introduction to rhetorical criticism, the book guides readers through the many and varied uses of rhetoric in most NT documents-not only telling readers about rhetoric in the NT, but showing them the way it was employed. ""This brief guide book is intended to provide the reader with an entrance into understanding the rhetorical analysis of various parts of the NT, the value such studies bring for understanding what is being proclaimed and defended in the NT, and how Christ is presented in ways that would be considered persuasive in antiquity."" - from the introduction Endorsements: ""Ben Witherington has used classical rhetorical criticism as a foundational method--writing commentaries on the entire New Testament canon. In this volume, he brings that extensive experience to the task of writing an introduction to this exegetical method. . . . This will surely become the choice resource-the ""new Kennedy""-for a main text in courses in rhetorical criticism or a supplementary text in courses on exegetical method, as well as a valuable and persuasive introduction to the method for ministry professionals interested in connecting the ongoing task of proclamation with the persuasive techniques of the New Testament."" --David A. deSilva, Trustees' Distinguished Professor of New Testament and Greek, Ashland Theological Seminary ""Whether one is drawn to the promise of rhetorical study of the New Testament writings or is not yet persuaded by its utility, Witherington has provided a helpful--and persuasive --primer. His easy familiarity with the ancient sources makes this an especially user-friendly introduction to the importance of ancient rhetoric for historical study of the New Testament."" --Joel B. Green, Professor of New Testament Interpretation, Fuller Theological Seminary ""For those who want to add rhetorical analysis to their interpretation of the New Testament, Ben Witherington provides easy access to a not easily accessible subject. . . . Not stopping with mere description, Witherington always draws out the implications of the rhetorical nature of the biblical texts for interpretation and application."" --Duane Watson, Professor of New Testament Studies, School of Theology, Malone College ""Ben Witherington has produced a sterling volume on ancient rhetoric and its applicability to New Testament studies. . . . Importantly, Witherington carefully describes how an understanding of rhetoric affects biblical interpretation and Christian preaching. Anyone who is interested in the contours of early Christian discourse or would like to be able to preach and teach as persuasively as the biblical authors will find this volume highly informative and immensely helpful. Another gem from the pen of Ben "" --Michael Bird, Tutor in New Testament at the Highland Theological College, Dingwall, Scotland About the Contributor(s): Ben Witherington III (PhD, University of Durham) is Amos professor of New Testament for Doctoral Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary and doctoral faculty at St. Andrews University. He is the author of numerous books, including The Living Word of God (2008), Shifting the Paradigms (forthcoming) and several socio-rhetorical commentaries.

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More About Ben Witherington

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Ben Witherington III (PhD, University of Durham) is Amos Professor of New Testament for Doctoral Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky, and is on the doctoral faculty at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. He is the author or coauthor of more than thirty books, including The Jesus Quest, The Paul Quest, and The New York Times bestseller The Brother of Jesus. He has appeared on the History Channel, NBC, ABC, CBS, and CNN.

Ben III Witherington has published or released items in the following series...
  1. New Cambridge Bible Commentary
  2. New Testament in Context
  3. Society for New Testament Studies in Monograph


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Reviews - What do our customers think?
An Analysis of Rhetoric Found in the New Testament  Dec 4, 2008
This is a study of the rhetorical forms found in the New Testament. Dr. Witherington defines rhetoric as the art of persuasion. He feels strongly that understanding rhetorical structures and techniques in the NT documents will help us understand them better. Ben stresses that the first century Greco-Roman world was an oral/aural culture, and that great value was placed on being a wordsmith. He believes that we can not only find rhetorical devices in the NT like enthymeme and comparison and irony and personification in the NT, but that whole books are rhetorically structured.

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. Luke has a lot of deliberative rhetoric in his speeches, and they are often filled with pathos, such as when Paul mentions his chains and his desire to see people come to Christ (Acts 26). Ben also observes the rhetorical structure of Stephen's speech in Acts 7.

There is also a chapter on Paul the rhetor and writer. This material will be familiar to those who have read Ben's book "The Paul Quest." Paul's education as a Roman and as a Pharisee would make him eminently prepared to give rhetorical speeches and to write rhetorical letters that would serve as substitutes for him being personally present.

Ben also discusses how expensive it was to procure ink and papyrus paper for the purpose of writing. Yet Paul was passionate about the churches he ministered to, and he prepared letters that were meant to be heard by the entire congregation (though he himself may have been shocked to learn that people would still be reading them years later).

Witherington shows how Paul was skilled at utilizing the forensic rhetorical of the law courts, the epideictic rhetoric of praise and blame, and the deliberative rhetoric of a books such as Galatians. Paul also uses personification in Romans 7.

Ben also describes the elementary rhetoric of the Pastoral epistles and their uses of maxims and enthymemes and proverbs. Hebrews is described as a sermon featuring epideictic praise of Jesus as our high priest, and 1 John is also characterized as a sermon with rhetorical flourishes.

There is a closing chapter about the impact an understanding of rhetoric can have on New Testament interpretation, and there are also suggestions for further reading.

I agree with David DeSilva that this is going to become the standard manual on New Testament rhetoric. Occasionally a person may be tempted to quibble with this or that detail, such as when Ben claims that Hebrews has no propositio, or when he identifies 2 Timothy 1:6-7 as the propositio instead of, say, 1:14. Wrongly identifying the propositio can have the undesirable effect of making your exegesis go awry.

But this is a great book and those who teach intro New Testament classes will want this as a supplementary text.
 

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