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Biblical Rhetoric and Rhetorical Criticism


This volume will prove a classic textbook on rhetorical criticism in the Bible, especially the Hebrew Bible.

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SKU: 978-1-907534-56-0

This volume will prove a classic textbook on rhetorical criticism in the Bible, especially the Hebrew Bible. Following the lead of the famous Presidential Address to the Society of Biblical Literature in 1968 by James Muilenburg, ‘Form Criticism and Beyond’, Jack Lundbom has for over 40 years been developing and shaping the field with a stream of papers. 26 of them (three not previously published) are gathered into this volume.

Hebrew rhetoric has a long history, reaching back even into the early Israelite period. Recognition of rhetorical elements in the Bible can be seen in Hillel, Augustine, ibn Ezra, and Calvin, as well as among certain biblical scholars of the 18th and 19th centuries. But the revival of rhetoric and the modern method of rhetorical criticism is more recent, having begun in America among classical scholars in the early 1900s, and having been widely adopted by biblical scholars in the last third of the twentieth century. Biblical scholars today invariably have rhetorical criticism in their exegetical toolbox, but the field lacks such a comprehensive corpus of studies as the present volume supplies.

Reading the Bible with an eye to the rhetorical nature of its discourse —not just the style, but its structures and modes of argumentation —gives one a sharpened view of biblical figures, their legacy, and much else in the biblical text. One also gets new insight into the audiences for whom biblical messages were originally intended. Rhetorical criticism offers a ready yield for all those seeking a closer understanding of the biblical texts.

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table of contents

HEBREW RHETORIC AND THE METHOD OF RHETORICAL CRITICISM 1. Hebrew Rhetoric 2. Christian Schoettgen’s Exergasia sacra 3. Rhetorical Criticism: History, Method, and Use in the Book of Jeremiah 4. Delimitation of Units in the Book of Jeremiah 5. Section Markings in Bible Scrolls THE PRIMARY HISTORY 6. Abraham and David in the Theology of the Yahwist 7. Parataxis, Rhetorical Structure, and the Dialogue over Sodom in Genesis 18 8. Scribal Contributions to Old Testament Theology 9. God’s Use of the Idem per idem to Terminate Debate 10. The Decalogue in the Primary History 11. The Inclusio and Other Framing Devices in Deuteronomy 1–28 12. The Lawbook of the Josianic Reform 13. Structure in the Song of Moses (Deuteronomy 32.1-43) 14. Elijah’s Chariot Ride THE PROPHETS 15. Rhetorical Discourse in the Prophets 16. The Lion Has Roared: Rhetorical Structure in Amos 1.2–3.8 17. Double-Duty Subject in Hosea 8.5 18. Contentious Priests and Contentious People in Hosea 4.1-10 19. Poetic Structure and Prophetic Rhetoric in Hosea 20. Jeremiah and the Break-away from Authority Preaching 21. Rhetorical Structures in Jeremiah 1 22. Rudimentary Logic in Oracle Clusters of Jeremiah 23. The Double Curse in Jeremiah 20.14-18 24. New Covenant in Jeremiah and Later Judaism THE GOSPELS 25. New Covenant in the Early Church and in Matthew 26. Closure in Mark’s Gospel

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  1. Joel Barker, Review of Biblical Literature.

    Helpfully, Lundbom does show that rhetorical criticism can serve a number of different perspectives on the biblical text as he weaves his rhetorical analysis together with discoveries from source- , redaction- , and form-critical studies. He is comfortable using rhetorical criticism both synchronically to discuss the final form of the biblical text and diachronically to see how a proposed original version of the text was composed. This is a beneficial corrective to the suggestion that rhetorical criticism inherently is a synchronic discipline. Joel Barker, Review of Biblical Literature.

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Jack R. Lundbom
List Price
£80 / $130 / €95
Hebrew Bible Monographs, 45
Scholars' Price
£40 / $65 / €47.50
ISBN 13 hardback
Paperback price
£20 / $29.50 / €25
ISBN 13 Paperback
Hardback / Paperback
Page Extent
xvii + 354
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