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

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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 rhetori 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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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 rhetori 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.

30 review for New Testament Rhetoric: An Introduction Guide to the Art of Persuasion in and of the New Testament

  1. 4 out of 5

    James Everingham

    This is a book for the academics, and quite a good one near as I can tell. Witherington explores the role of rhetoric, that is the ancient art of persuasive speaking, or merely speaking well, in the New Testament and how rhetoric informs issues of interpretation and exegesis. There's some truly illuminating stuff in here, and I would say that I learnt quite a bit; although it may be said that some places were a bit dry. Witherington presents a compelling argument for the role and importance of r This is a book for the academics, and quite a good one near as I can tell. Witherington explores the role of rhetoric, that is the ancient art of persuasive speaking, or merely speaking well, in the New Testament and how rhetoric informs issues of interpretation and exegesis. There's some truly illuminating stuff in here, and I would say that I learnt quite a bit; although it may be said that some places were a bit dry. Witherington presents a compelling argument for the role and importance of rhetorical criticism, and area of study that has surely been deficient in NT scholarship. With that said, this is an area that is highly debated and there are many scholars that are in strong disagreement with Witherington's conclusions. For this reason, the reader ought to take what they read with a grain of salt, because these matters are debated. Nevertheless, I would recommend this book as a good place to start to learn about rhetoric in the New Testament; but keep in mind that many of these things are disputed.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Graham

    Certainly not for a general reader, but directed more at upper level theology students and scholars, this is a helpful guide to rhetorical criticism, and its importance in New Testament studies. It is a bit dry at times, but elsewhere is fascinating, and illuminating. Since rhetoric (especially classical rhetoric) isn't something many non-specialists are exposed to in any significant depth, some portions have to cover some less than exhilarating background information on ancient rhetorical train Certainly not for a general reader, but directed more at upper level theology students and scholars, this is a helpful guide to rhetorical criticism, and its importance in New Testament studies. It is a bit dry at times, but elsewhere is fascinating, and illuminating. Since rhetoric (especially classical rhetoric) isn't something many non-specialists are exposed to in any significant depth, some portions have to cover some less than exhilarating background information on ancient rhetorical training. But these are typically broken up well with demonstrations of how rhetorical criticism applies to reading the New Testament. Witherington has done extensive work in the field of socio-rhetorical studies, authoring multiple socio-rhetorical commentaries, and this book helps make those commentaries more helpful, as they do often assume this background information is familiar to the reader. It is immensely helpful to have this book there to accompany those commentaries.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Caldwell

    This was an understandable introduction to NT rhetoric. I was not blown away by it. I get the feeling that I would be better off going to the primary sources of the ancient rhetoricians. I feel that Witherington is often more concerned about his word count than his substance. I don't know why I keep reading him. This was an understandable introduction to NT rhetoric. I was not blown away by it. I get the feeling that I would be better off going to the primary sources of the ancient rhetoricians. I feel that Witherington is often more concerned about his word count than his substance. I don't know why I keep reading him.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Timothy Decker

    This book has a lot to offer, and I am sure I will return to it. I am not convinced by all of what the author had to say (his view of Luke's genre or esp. his axe to grind against the standard view of Paul and justification), but he offered some helpful views to the approach of NT studies. This book has a lot to offer, and I am sure I will return to it. I am not convinced by all of what the author had to say (his view of Luke's genre or esp. his axe to grind against the standard view of Paul and justification), but he offered some helpful views to the approach of NT studies.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Brett Marko

    This was by far my favorite read of all of Ben Witherington's books this semester. All too often, the modern day scholar of the Bible fails to take into consideration the premise of this book. The practice and art of rhetoric not only greatly influenced the writing of the books of the New Testament but also greatly enhances the meaning of the texts if we understand the role rhetoric plays in why the writers said things a certain way. I enjoyed how the book walks through the elements of rhetoric f This was by far my favorite read of all of Ben Witherington's books this semester. All too often, the modern day scholar of the Bible fails to take into consideration the premise of this book. The practice and art of rhetoric not only greatly influenced the writing of the books of the New Testament but also greatly enhances the meaning of the texts if we understand the role rhetoric plays in why the writers said things a certain way. I enjoyed how the book walks through the elements of rhetoric first both in a micro and a macro way. Understanding the basic differences between Asiatic and Attic variants as well as the basis structure of a rhetorical position was quite illuminating. It was quite illuminating seeing scripture come to life as you look at standard rhetorical constructs like parables, synkrisis comparisons, and other rhetorical devices come alive in the scripture. One thing I picked up from the book that I did not pick up from the lecture was the impact rhetoric has on the Gospel. The whole concept of Luke changing his tone from a Semiticized version of Greek to a more Hellenized version as the book of Acts moves into the Greek and Gentile areas was very intriguing. It is not a tremendous stretch to see how the rhetorical style and devices of the each writer in the New Testament flavors each piece. I gained a new found respect for Luke and especially Paul as I read through the illustrations in the center part of the book. It was real helpful to go through each chapter of the book and have the rhetorical styles, influences and constructs laid out for us. It gives you a real idea of why Paul would sound different in the pastoral letters versus his general letters because he was freed from the need to persuade and was focused more upon encouragement. The mention in 1 John of the use of the rhetorical device of amplification or repeating the same theme with different variation really helps one to see the nature of how the writer was trying to influence those of us who would receive the words found within. All examples through the book aside, I found Chapter 8 to be culminating point of the book in answering the question of why should I consider rhetoric as a major factor when reading the Gospels. Outlining a number of the significant mistakes that one can make if we do not understand the impact of rhetoric upon the writing of the scriptures was very eye opening. From talking about enthymenes or preaching to the choir to focusing on misinterpretations of impersonation, personification and amplification, really gave good reasons for the modern student of the bible's need to understand New Testament rhetoric. It is for this reason that I would highly recommend this book for anyone seeking to go to the next level in their study of the New Testament.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Brandon Hawk

    Setting out to write an introduction clearly meant to address students, Witherington provides a worthy basic guide to rhetoric in the whole of the New Testament. Throughout this book, there are two threads that he especially emphasizes: the first centers on a historical approach, discussing the adoption and adaptation of classical rhetoric by NT writers (rhetoric "in" the NT); the second centers on an exegetical approach, discussing the application of modern rhetorical criticism for NT interpret Setting out to write an introduction clearly meant to address students, Witherington provides a worthy basic guide to rhetoric in the whole of the New Testament. Throughout this book, there are two threads that he especially emphasizes: the first centers on a historical approach, discussing the adoption and adaptation of classical rhetoric by NT writers (rhetoric "in" the NT); the second centers on an exegetical approach, discussing the application of modern rhetorical criticism for NT interpretation (rhetoric "of" the NT). Though Witherington is clearly more concerned with the latter (rhetoric in the NT), he also weaves issues of modern exegesis throughout his book. Foremost of the exegetical concerns highlighted in the book is the continual call for understanding and accounting for the rhetorical features when studying the NT works. One of the great benefits of this study is the organization, as Witherington offers general introductory discussion of rhetoric in the ancient world and NT, then moves on to discuss first the Gospels, the Acts ("Early Christian Homilies"), and especially in Paul's letters. Thus, the individual chapters do well to move between history and literature, as Witherington helps not only to place the writings within their own milieu but also to provide a study of one aspect of the rich literary features therein.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Derek

    One again Ben has penned an excellent book. This time it was about the topic of NT Rhetoric.Ben began this book by giving a synopsis of the history of Rhetoric. After this he moved methodically throughout differing genres of NT Scripture, elaborating on the use of rhetoric within each separate genre. By starting with the basics found in this book, the author has changed the way an interpreter should read his NT. Rhetorical criticism is an up-and-coming type of NT criticism; and with any new type One again Ben has penned an excellent book. This time it was about the topic of NT Rhetoric.Ben began this book by giving a synopsis of the history of Rhetoric. After this he moved methodically throughout differing genres of NT Scripture, elaborating on the use of rhetoric within each separate genre. By starting with the basics found in this book, the author has changed the way an interpreter should read his NT. Rhetorical criticism is an up-and-coming type of NT criticism; and with any new type of criticism, there is always a little skepticism, as it should be. Yet,the style which Witherington used really made understanding this new type of criticism a delightful experience. In NT study, there are often waves of interest that direct NT scholars towards and away from certain motifs within NT study. This book points one back to what needs to be focused upon, the way the NT knew & used rhetoric within their oral culture.

  8. 4 out of 5

    James Nance

    As I am a teacher of both classical rhetoric and Christian doctrine in Logos school, this book was of inestimable value in leading me to use the tools of one of my classes to assist me in teaching the other. Witherington argues that the NT culture was largely an oral culture, rather than a written culture, and that most of the NT was meant to be heard rather than read. Consequently, the writers of the NT often used classical rhetorical devices - both micro-rhetoric and macro-rhetoric. The fail As I am a teacher of both classical rhetoric and Christian doctrine in Logos school, this book was of inestimable value in leading me to use the tools of one of my classes to assist me in teaching the other. Witherington argues that the NT culture was largely an oral culture, rather than a written culture, and that most of the NT was meant to be heard rather than read. Consequently, the writers of the NT often used classical rhetorical devices - both micro-rhetoric and macro-rhetoric. The failure to recognize the tools of classical rhetoric used by NT authors has hindered a proper and full understanding of much of the NT. I will be returning to Witherington often as I continue to teach rhetoric, which I will now do with more focused purpose and confidence in its applicability.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    This book discusses the connections between the rhetoric of the NT writers with the surrounding context of rhetoric of the ancient world (i.e. Aristotle, Cicero etc). Witherington argues that the epistles are rhetorical speeches, as much as straight epistles and therefore reveal the rhetorical methods of the apostles. Witherington brings the benefits of a classical education to his subject.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas Quient

    A helpful and meaty introduction to the art of New Testament rhetoric. BW3 is clear, concise and a bit snarky if you read the footnotes. For anyone wanting to further understand the style and substance of the New Testament, start here. His work on Rom. 7 is a compelling case where understanding ancient rhetoric helps us untangle a morass of bewildering readings.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Dave

  12. 4 out of 5

    Nathan Brasfield

  13. 5 out of 5

    Tim Buechsel

  14. 5 out of 5

    David

  15. 5 out of 5

    Matt

  16. 4 out of 5

    John

  17. 5 out of 5

    Adam

  18. 5 out of 5

    Marc Axelrod

  19. 4 out of 5

    Serena

  20. 5 out of 5

    Pat Campbell

  21. 4 out of 5

    Timothy

  22. 5 out of 5

    Anna Merlo

  23. 4 out of 5

    Phillip Goodchild

  24. 4 out of 5

    Owen

  25. 4 out of 5

    Naum

  26. 4 out of 5

    Chancy

  27. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Bedard

  28. 5 out of 5

    Joshua Mahoney

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kara Mitchell

  30. 5 out of 5

    Shane

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