What's in the Word
Rethinking the Socio-Rhetorical Character of the New Testament
203 pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in
- Published: August 2009
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.
Invitation to the Dance
Chapter One: Oral Examination: How Did ‘Oral’ Texts Function in a Rhetorical Culture?
Chapter Two: Canonical Pseudepigrapha—Is It an Oxymoron?
Chapter Three: Rethinking and Redescribing Scribal Culture
Chapter Four: The Question of Sermons and Homilies in the New Testament
Chapter Five: Rom. 7.7-25– Retelling Adam’s Tale
Chapter Six: What’s in a Name? Rethinking the Historical Figure of the Beloved Disciple in the 4th Gospel
Chapter Seven: What’s in a Word? Part One: Eidolothuton
Chapter Eight: What’s In A Word? Part Two—Porneia
Chapter Nine: What’s in a Phrase?—‘No Male and Female’ (Gal. 3.28)
Chapter Ten: Christianity in the Making’: Oral Mystery or Eyewitness History?
Chapter Eleven: Rethinking the Canonizing of the New Testament
Chapter Twelve: Sign Posts along the Way—On Taking the Less Travelled Path
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 stimulating 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
... interesting, varied, provocative, well written and worthwhile.~David Wenham, Journal for the Study of the New Testament
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
... [Witherington] easily demonstrates that history and theology simply cannot be separated.~Review of Biblical Literature
... 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