Paul’s Rhetoric and Rhetorical Questions

A friend of mine has begun looking into the subject of rhetorical questions in Paul’s letters. He is interested in both the background in ancient rhetoric – might Paul have been familiar with what earlier rhetoricians had said on the subject – and in what is involved in translating such rhetorical questions when translating the Pauline epistles today.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this subject, or recommendations for reading on the topic? If so, please do share them in the comments section.

Thank you in advance for your help and input!

  • alvon

    “Ancient Rhetoric and Paul’s Apology” by Fredrick Long. this deals with 2 Corinthians but has a wealth of info.

  • Andy Ballard

    Margaret Mitchell, “Paul and the Rhetoric of Reconciliation”; L.L. Welborn, “Politics and Rhetoric in Corinth”;  both are classics on Paul and rhetoric and will have valuable footnotes for further research

  • Jason Sturdevant

    Your friend should pick up anything written by George Kennedy on the topic of ancient rhetoric. Also, there has recently been published a collection of essays in honor of Kennedy entitled “Words Well Spoken,” and much of the collection pertains to rhetoric and the NT.

    I would second the recommendation of Mitchell’s work.

    Lastly, a great place to get into classical rhetoric in the NT generally, but specifically in Paul, is the work of John Chrysostom. Few interpreters had such mastery of rhetoric as he did, and his reading can help highlight Paul’s rhetorical techniques “from the inside,” as it were.

  • Oliver Stegen

    Thanks for these helpful comments.
    I’ve been fortunate to locate Kennedy 1984 New Testament interpretation through rhetorical
    criticism; still hunting for Mitchell (libraries in Nairobi are not as well-stocked as in North America or Europe).
    Btw, anyone have an opinion on Porter, Stanley &
    Andrew Pitts. 2008. Paul’s Bible, his Education and his Access to the Scriptures
    of Israel. Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism 5: 9-41? Should I assume that Paul was less rhetorically trained, i.e. did not have access to formal Greek rhetoric schooling?
    Thanks again,
    Oliver Stegen


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