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Inventing Hebrews
Design and Purpose in Ancient Rhetoric

Part of Society for New Testament Studies Monograph Series

  • Date Published: June 2018
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108429467

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  • Inventing Hebrews examines a perennial topic in the study of the Letter to the Hebrews, its structure and purpose. Michael Wade Martin and Jason A. Whitlark undertake at thorough synthesis of the ancient theory of invention and arrangement, providing a new account of Hebrews' design. The key to the speech's outline, the authors argue, is in its use of 'disjointed' arrangement, a template ubiquitous in antiquity but little discussed in modern biblical studies. This method of arrangement accounts for the long-observed pattern of alternating epideictic and deliberative units in Hebrews as blocks of narratio and argumentatiorespectively. Thus the 'letter' may be seen as a conventional speech arranged according to the expectations of ancient rhetoric (exordium, narratio, argumentatio, peroratio), with epideictic comparisons of old and new covenant representatives (narratio) repeatedly enlisted in amplification of what may be viewed as the central argument of the speech (argumentatio), the recurring deliberative summons for perseverance. Resolving a long-standing conundrum, this volume offers a hermeneutical tool necessary for interpreting Hebrews, as well as countless other speeches from Greco-Roman antiquity.

    • Offers one of the most thorough syntheses to date of the ancient theory of invention and arrangement
    • Provides a rigorous application of that theoretical synthesis in the analysis of the unsettled questions of Hebrews' structure and purpose
    • Highlights a little known (both in Biblical and Classical studies) template of arrangement that was ubiquitous in Greco-Roman rhetorical theory and practice - 'the disjointed arrangement' - and shows the template's use as a key to Hebrews' outline
    • Resolves the longstanding conundrum of whether Hebrews is ultimately epideictic or deliberative in purpose, by examining the relationship of epideictic and deliberative in the theory of arrangement
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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2018
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108429467
    • length: 318 pages
    • dimensions: 223 x 146 x 22 mm
    • weight: 0.51kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Structuring Hebrews: modern approaches to an ancient text
    Part I. Laying the Foundation – Syncrisis in Hebrew:
    2. Comparing covenants: the syncritical backbone of Hebrews
    3. Choosing the advantageous: deliberative syncrisis and epideictic syncrisis in Hebrews
    Part II. Arranging the Speech – The Ancient Rhetorical Design of Hebrews:
    4. Arranging an ancient speech: ancient compositional theory and a proposal for modern analysis
    5. Proving the case: argumentatio in Hebrews
    6. Presenting the facts relevant to the case: narratio in Hebrews
    7. Beginning with favor: exordium in Hebrews
    8. Ending with recapitulation and emotion: Peroratio in Hebrews
    9. Putting it all together: the rhetorical arrangement and aim of Hebrews
    10. Examining implications: Early Christian sermons and apostasy in Hebrews.

  • Authors

    Michael Wade Martin, Lubbock Christian University, Texas
    Michael Wade Martin is a Professor of New Testament in the Alfred and Patricia Smith College of Biblical Studies at Lubbock Christian University. He is the author of Judas and the Rhetoric of Comparison in the Fourth Gospel (2010) and co-author of Ancient Rhetoric and the New Testament (forthcoming).

    Jason A. Whitlark, Baylor University, Texas
    Jason A. Whitlark is an Associate Professor of New Testament in Baylor University's Honors College. He also serves as the Assistant Faculty Director of the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core. He is the author of Enabling Fidelity to God: Perseverance in Hebrews in Light of the Ancient Reciprocity Systems of the Ancient Mediterranean World (2009) and Resisting Empire: Rethinking the Purpose of the Letter to the 'Hebrews' (2014).

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