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Related Content. Editors: Stanley E. Porter and Andrew Pitts.

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Porter and Andrew W. Pitts assemble an international team of scholars whose work has focused on reconstructing the social matrix for earliest Christianity through reference to Hellenistic Judaism and its literary forms.

Each essay moves forward the current understanding of how primitive Christianity situated itself in relation to evolving Greco-Roman Jewish culture. Some essays focus on configuring the social context for the origins of the Jesus movement and beyond, while others assess the literary relation between early Christian and Hellenistic Jewish texts.

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Editors: Ruth A. Clements , Menahem Kister and Michael Segal. The religious worldviews reflected in the Scrolls constitute part of the ideological environment of Second Temple Judaism; the analysis of these texts is essential for the reconstruction of that milieu. Taken together, these studies indicate the breadth and depth of theological reflection in the Second Temple period.

Editors: Felix Albrecht and Reinhard Feldmeier. The present volume is devoted to the theme of "Divine Father" in Second Temple Jewish and early Christian tradition and in its ancient pagan contexts. Selected articles by well-known scholars focus on religious and philosophical concepts of divine parenthood in antiquity, from the Hebrew Bible and Second Temple Judaism the Dead Sea Scrolls, Targums, Philo and Josephus to the field of the New Testament.

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In addition, the volume deals with the designation of deity as "father" or "mother" from the broad spectrum of ancient Egypt and classical antiquity Homer, Hesiod, Plato, and its reception to late antiquity Plotinus and Porphyry. Terms and Conditions Privacy Statement. Powered by: PubFactory. Academic writing excuses itself from rhetorical care in the selfless service of some precise truth--and then deforms our only means for speaking truth.

Popular theology typically borrows rhetorical tricks without regard for their criteria or consequences. Theology dangerous by design threatens in the name of God when it means really to summon the local police. Each of these theological styles--there are many others--is dangerous as writing because it neglects or abuses rhetorical power. The preached or prayed religion of an enfleshed Word, Christianity professes ultimate rhetorical ambitions.

So the double danger: A theological writer can refuse to attend to the rhetorical devices necessarily in play or can claim them grandiosely for anti-Christian purposes.

Christian Origins : Theology, Rhetoric and Community (1998, Paperback)

The first danger leads to the second. Histories of Christian theology place its origin in the contest between revelation and philosophy. The narratives can forget that those philosophies were not textbook systems.

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They were persuasive schools, historical communities constituted by relations of students to teachers, by common practices of ways-of-life, by the handing on of certain texts that had the power to call and correct. Some of the forms of philosophic persuasion are reflected in the New Testament letters.

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Many more find their way into early Christian writing. A moral fable about Christian theology might better stress the original competition with flourishing schools of rhetoric. We read this in Augustine's Confessions, of course, but we do not remember it, partly because Augustine represents his conversion as a decisive turn from rhetoric to revelation.

Attentive readers of any page in the Confessions know how much rhetoric survived conversion--or motivated it. In his Milanese garden, Augustine sees not Christ, but the stately figure of a personified Continence. She exhorts by example and by well modulated shame. Augustine is then commanded to read by a pure voice--by the provocation of voice alone, without name, body, sex, logic.

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A rhetorician's conversion towards a new rhetoric able to command bodies. Augustine was not alone.


The three other "doctors" or teachers of Latin-speaking theology--Ambrose, Jerome, Gregory--were accomplished orators, but also avid students of rhetorical arts. Ambrose wrote a whole treatise in imitation and correction of Cicero, while Jerome dreamed that he would be accused before God of being more Ciceronian than Christian. Even Gregory the Great, two centuries later in Christian time, is praised by his biographer as pre-eminent at Rome for rhetoric.