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xvii + 354 pp.

£80 / $130 / €95
List Price

£20 / $29.50 / €25

Biblical Rhetoric and Rhetorical Criticism
Jack R. Lundbom

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.

Jack R. Lundbom is Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Evanston, Illinois.

Series: Hebrew Bible Monographs, 45
978-1-907534-56-0 hardback / 978-1-910928-06-6 paperback
Publication July 2013


  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


  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


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


25. New Covenant in the Early Church and in Matthew
26. Closure in Mark’s Gospel

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.