Quote of the Day (F. Gerald Downing)

“Paul’s refusal to deploy the arts of persuasion (1 Thess. 2.4; Gal. 1.10) is itself a topos from the world of rhetoric, evincing a common awareness of the dangers involved in being too adaptable to one’s audience.”
(JSNTS 200, Sheffield Academic Press, 2000) p.84.
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  • Nice quote, but I’m not buying. 1 Thes 2:4 and Gal 1:10 talk about Paul’s motives but nothing about his methods. He certainly did use his Rabbinical evangelistic training and rhetorical devices in his proclamations; the sermon in Athens and the defence in Jerusalem being two prime examples. In fact, in the defence in Jerusalem, he also made use of the fact that he was “a citizen of an important city.” And of course, the Jerusalem and the Athens speeches were very different in style and content; Paul knew very well how to be adaptable to his audience, and used this skill to great effect.

  • Right – what I understood Downing’s point to be is that denying reliance on rhetorical skill is precisely what those trained in rhetoric learn to say…

  • Is this “saying” saying that Paul refused to “fall in line” with the way things were viewed (conformity), therefore, he did not use his persuasion to affirm conformity, but to prod, and provoke?I have always thought that each understanding of reforming,throughout history, whether Jesus, or Paul, or Luther, or Wesley was based on ingroup/outgroup issues of some kind, whether class, ethnicity, etc.But, then today’s reformers are not just religious ones, but moral, and political ones. This is where persons such as Martin Luther King, Jr. or Solentizen (?) etc. make a difference.