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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Biblical Rhetoric and Rhetorical Criticism
Lundbom, Jack R.

Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix, 2013 pp. xviii + 354. $130

Series Information
Hebrew Bible Monographs, 45

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Description: This volume will prove a classic textbook on rhetorical criticism in the Bible, especially the Hebrew Bible. Following the lead of the famous Presidential Address to the Society of Biblical Literature in 1968 by James Muilenburg, ‘Form Criticism and Beyond’, Jack Lundbom has for over 40 years been developing and shaping the field with a stream of papers. Twenty-six of them (three not previously published) are gathered into this volume. Hebrew rhetoric has a long history, reaching back even into the early Israelite period. Recognition of rhetorical elements in the Bible can be seen in Hillel, Augustine, ibn Ezra, and Calvin, as well as among certain biblical scholars of the 18th and 19th centuries. But the revival of rhetoric and the modern method of rhetorical criticism is more recent, having begun in America among classical scholars in the early 1900s, and having been widely adopted by biblical scholars in the last third of the twentieth century. Biblical scholars today invariably have rhetorical criticism in their exegetical toolbox, but the field lacks such a comprehensive corpus of studies as the present volume supplies. Reading the Bible with an eye to the rhetorical nature of its discourse—not just the style, but its structures and modes of argumentation—gives one a sharpened view of biblical figures, their legacy, and much else in the biblical text. One also gets new insight into the audiences for whom biblical messages were originally intended. Rhetorical criticism offers a ready yield for all those seeking a closer understanding of the biblical texts.

Subjects: Bible, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Literature, Methods, Literary Approaches, Rhetorical Criticism

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Review by Joel Barker
Published 1/22/2015
Citation: Joel Barker, review of Jack R. Lundbom, Biblical Rhetoric and Rhetorical Criticism, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2015).


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