Re: Rhetorical and Discourse Analysis of Hebrews

From: Edgar Krentz (
Date: Tue Mar 09 1999 - 14:29:42 EST

>John Contabile inquires:
>I am in the process of exegeting the book of Hebrews along with a couple of
>friends. We have discovered that we need to do some outside reading
>concerning the rhetorical style used by the writers of the New Testament -
>especially the author of Hebrews. If anyone could recommend a good book or
>two it would be greatly appreciated. I heard that Burton Mack's "Rhetoric
>and the New Testament" was good, but it is out of print and I cannot find
>it. Also, if anyone can pass on some advice regarding the discourse
>analysis of Hebrews we would appreciate it. We have found that perhaps we
>have bitten off more than we can chew!
>But on Hebrews, I hope you will not overlook the really ground-breaking
>(and then ignored for 60-70 years) commentary on Hebrews involving
>rhetorical analysis by H. von Soden, in the _Handkommentar zum n.T._
>series, published 1890 [3rd edition 1899] (not easy to find).
>And I was tremendously helped in my early years by an article in ZNW xviii
>(1918), pp. 145-163, by von Haering (who also discusses von Soden's work).
>Edward Hobbs

John, Let me add to Edward's good recommendation that James Moffatt's
Commentary on Hebrews in the old ICC also paid some attention to rhetoric.

Of general works in English, see the writings of George Kennedy of the
University of North Carolina, the doyen of rhetorical studies in our
country, including his little work on rhetoric and the NT (North Carolina
Press). There is also the massive Handbook of Lausberg, recently translated
into English and published by Brill--for about $160.00. If you are really
interested, let me know and I can supply a lasrge bibliography on Classical

Snd Stanley Porter recently came out with a major work on rhetoric, also
from Brill, and also outlandishly expensive.

Edgar Krentz
Professor of New Testament Emeritus
Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
1100 E. 55th Street
Chicago, IL 60615 USA
e-mail: (Office) (Home)

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