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Rhetoric at the Boundaries

The Art and Theology of New Testament Chain-Link Transitions

Bruce W. Longenecker

Publication Year: 2005

In Rhetoric at the Boundaries Bruce W. Longenecker explores the way in which New Testament authors used an ancient rhetorical device to effect smooth transitions, both large and small. His study demonstrates how recognition of this rhetorical technique proves decisive for New Testament interpretation. Longenecker accomplishes this by examining the evidence for chain-link interlocks in a variety of ancient sources, including the Hebrew scriptures, Jewish and Roman authors of the Graeco-Roman world, and the Graeco-Roman rhetoricians. He then applies the results of the survey to fifteen problematic passages of the New Testament. In each case, Longenecker establishes the presence of chain-link interlock and highlights the structural, literary, and theological significance of the rhetorical device for New Testament interpretation.

Published by: Baylor University Press


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pp. 8

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pp. 10-11

The roots of this research project go back to the early 1990s when I first started teaching in Durham England. While preparing for a course on John, I came across a few sentences about chain-link construction in John 12 in Charles Talbert’s book...

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chapter 1

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pp. 12-21

A plethora of structural patterns can be observed within New Testament texts. One of those patterns has consistently baffled New Testament interpreters. This itself is somewhat curious....

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chapter 2

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pp. 22-31

The first of this project’s triangulation points is the evidence of Graeco- Roman rhetoricians of the first two centuries CE. Both the first-century rhetorician Quintilian and the second-century rhetorician Lucian of Samosata seem to be aware of the form, function,...

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chapter 3

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pp. 32-53

In chapter 2 it was suggested that the chain-link structure that both Lucian and Quintilian commended should be understood as a transition appearing at the boundary between two text units. In its structure, text unit A gives way to a brief signalling of...

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chapter 4

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pp. 54-68

Following from these four points of summary, a further six observations regarding the character and function of chain-link construction are registered in the paragraphs below. These...

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chapter 5

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pp. 69-93

In this chapter, selected examples of chain-link interlock from sources outside the New Testament are briefly considered. These examples provide a second triangulation point for this project, demonstrating that chain-link construction is evident in textual predecessors to, and contemporaries of, the New Testament. Although all of the examples of this chapter arise from antiquity,...

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chapter 6

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pp. 94-111

The third triangulation point in this study of “chain-link interlock” is the evidence from the New Testament, as laid out in the next five chapters (chs. 6–10). Demonstrating the existence...

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chapter 7

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pp. 112-129

Having analysed medial-level examples of text-unit interlock in Paul’s letters, our analysis of macro-level examples begins with the last book of the New Testament. This is because the book...

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chapter 8

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pp. 130-173

In his important article “The Man from Heaven in Johannine Sectarianism,” Wayne Meeks wrote concerning the Johannine Gospel that the “major literary problem of John is its combination of remarkable stylistic unity and thematic coherence with...

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chapter 9

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pp. 174-222

Mikeal Parsons and Martin Culy have recently expressed surprise at “the lack of studies that attend to Acts from the perspective of ancient rhetorical criticism,” imagining that “studies that read the...

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chapter 10

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pp. 223-260

As demonstrated in the previous chapter, the narrative of Acts is constructed at key points in conformity with the pattern of chain-link interlock. It is not enough, however, simply to observe the existence of chain-link interlock in the Lukan narrative....

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chapter 11

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pp. 261-265

In the previous chapters of this project, the study of chain-link interlock has been carried out in relatively self-contained chapters. Three points of triangulation have provided the focus of this study: (1) evidence from first- and second-century Graeco-Roman rhetoricians (two references); (2) evidence from sources antecedent to....

Works Cited

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pp. 266-290

E-ISBN-13: 9781602581210
E-ISBN-10: 1602581215
Print-ISBN-13: 9781932792249
Print-ISBN-10: 1932792244

Page Count: 300
Publication Year: 2005

Edition: 1st