The Tapestry of Early Christian Discourse: Rhetoric, Society, and Ideology

The Tapestry of Early Christian Discourse: Rhetoric, Society, and Ideology

The Tapestry of Early Christian Discourse: Rhetoric, Society, and Ideology

The Tapestry of Early Christian Discourse: Rhetoric, Society, and Ideology

Synopsis

The Tapestry of Early Christian Discourse first establishes a concept of culture and then combines it with Geertz' anthropological concept of 'thick description'. Subsequently, the relation of texts to society and culture is discussed. In this manner, multiple methods of interpretation are used in an organized and programmatic way, allowing the reader distinctly new insights into the development of early Christianity.In this original study, Vernon Robbins expounds and develops his system of socio-rhetorical criticism, bringing together social-scientific and literary-critical approaches to explore early Christanity. This book investigates Christianity as a cultural phenomenon, and treats its canonical texts as ideological constructs.

Excerpt

This volume is the result of the enthusiasm, diligence, trust and encouragement of many people. My remarks will fail, without doubt, to mention some who made substantial contributions to the development of the socio-rhetorical approach in it. To the students in the College, the Graduate Division of Religion, and the Institute for the Liberal Arts at Emory University who wrote socio-rhetorical papers of various kinds during the past decade, I express my deep gratitude. Special mention is due to Wesley H. Wachob and Russell B. Sisson, who wrote programmatic socio-rhetorical dissertations under my guidance. Their courage, persistence and insight have made substantive contributions to the approach. the faculty of the Department of Religion, with special mention of our Chair Paul Courtright, have been exceptionally supportive, and my colleagues in the New Testament Department of the Graduate Division of Religion have been essential conversation partners in the formulation of this project. the energetic support of John G. Cook during two years of post-doctoral work with me was a special gift at an important time, and the enthusiasm and insights of David B. Gowler have contributed in special ways to the volume. Support through the years from Dr Tore Meistad and Roald Kristiansen of Finnmark College, Alta Norway, have been significant as well.

To Robert Detweiler, with whom I co-taught three Ph.D. seminars before his tragic strokes, I owe a debt that can never be repaid. Many of the broader reaches into literary theory come from our work together in this context. Special thanks to John Gager, Jeff Stout, Lorraine Fuhrman, and other faculty and staff of the Department of Religion at Princeton University for an invigorating year as Visiting Research Professor during 1993-4. Their support in many ways, including e-mail and the remarkable resources of the Harvey

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