What's in the Word: Rethinking the Socio-Rhetorical Character of the New Testament

Overview

Written in clear, and at times colorful, prose, Ben Witherington's What's in the Word explains how the recognition of the oral and socio-rhetorical character of the New Testament and its environment necessitates a change in how the New Testament literature is read. Expanding on the work in which he has been fruitfully engaged for over a quarter century, Witherington challenges the previously assured results of historical criticism and demonstrates chapter by chapter how the ...

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Overview

Written in clear, and at times colorful, prose, Ben Witherington's What's in the Word explains how the recognition of the oral and socio-rhetorical character of the New Testament and its environment necessitates a change in how the New Testament literature is read. Expanding on the work in which he has been fruitfully engaged for over a quarter century, Witherington challenges the previously assured results of historical criticism and demonstrates chapter by chapter how the socio-rhetorical study shifts the paradigm.

Taken together, the chapters in What's in the Word coalesce around three of Witherington's ongoing academic concerns: orality and rhetoric; New Testament history, including issues of authenticity and canonicity; and the exegesis of given words in their canonical and socio-cultural contexts. Always unpredictable, this book never fails to pique interest and proffer instruction.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"... [Witherington] easily demonstrates that history and theology simply cannot be separated."
--Review of Biblical Literature (May 2012)

"... a fascinating discussion. ... [Witherington] is correct that social history and Greco-Roman rhetoric are now more purposely employed in interpretation and have made significant advances in our understanding of the NT—advances he masterfully demonstrates throughout this volume.
--Duane F. Watson, Interpretation (2011, 65:3)

"Witherington here shows how fruitful socio-rhetorical perspective can be. His lively and accessible style make for stimulating reading."

--Richard Bauckham, Professor of New Testament, St. Mary's College, University of St. Andrews

"This book's fascinating observations give stimuluating guidance in hearing the texts as they were very likely meant to be heard."

--Richard J. Erickson, Associate Professor of New Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary

"This book tackles a series of contentious subjects with clarity and verve. It may even change your mind on some."

--Darrell Bock, Research Professor of New Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781602581968
  • Publisher: Baylor University Press
  • Publication date: 8/1/2009
  • Pages: 203
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author


Ben Witherington III is Amos Professor for Doctoral Studies, Asbury Theological Seminary. He is the author of more than thirty books, including, most recently The Living Word of God: Rethinking the Theology of the Bible, and Making a Meal of It: Rethinking the Theology of the Lord's Supper. Witherington is twice the Christianity Today book of the year winner. He lives in Lexington, Kentucky.
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Table of Contents

Invitation to the Dance 1

1 Oral Examination: How Did "Oral" Texts Function in a Rhetorical Culture? 7

2 Canonical Pseudepigrapha: Is It an Oxymoron? 19

3 Rethinking and Redescribing Scribal Culture 33

4 The Question of Sermons and Homilies in the New Testament 49

5 Romans 7:7-25: Retelling Adam's Tale 61

6 What's in a Name?: Rethinking the Historical Figure of the Beloved Disciple in the Fourth Gospel 77

7 What's in a Word?: Part One-Eidolothuton 89

8 What's in a Word?: Part Two-Porneia 103

9 What's in a Phrase?: "No Male and Female" (Galatians 3:28) 113

10 "Christianity in the Making": Oral Mystery or Eyewitness History? 121

11 The Rise of Canon Consciousness and the Formation of the New Testament 143

12 Signposts along the Way: On Taking the Less-Traveled Path 165

Notes 171

Scripture Index 189

Index of Subjects and Authors 193

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