Jill E. Marshall


One of Paul’s most notoriously difficult arguments begins with praise that the Corinthians have kept the “traditions” just as he “handed over” to them (1 Cor 11:2). Paul does not mention “traditions” after this verse, but this introduction suggests that they play a role in his argument. This essay demonstrates how traditions are part of the rhetorical argumentation of 1 Cor 11:2-16. Paul does not strictly recite teachings that his audience knows but changes them by addition or reformulation. Two modified traditions, in 11:3 and 11:11-12, formulate different perspectives on the relationship between men and women: first, hierarchical, and second, interdependent. The essay proceeds in three parts: discussion of Paul’s παράδοσις language, rhetorical analysis of 1 Cor 11:2-16, and proposal for the two “traditions” and their function in 11:3 and 11:11-12.

Untrustworthy Believers

The Rhetorical Strategy of the Johannine Language of Commitment and Belief

Christopher Seglenieks


The Gospel of John seeks to evoke belief, the kind of belief that leads to eternal life (20:31). Yet the language of belief is used to challenge the reader, as in 2:23-25 there are believers whose faith falls short of the belief that leads to life. This account confronts a reader unprepared for the appearance of inadequate faith. In confronting the reader, the scene serves a rhetorical function to provoke the reader to question why this faith falls short, and what genuine belief entails. This pattern is repeated in a series of episodes (6:60-71; 8:30-31; 15:1-6) where characters are described in terms of faith and commitment, and yet in each case the narrative conveys that their faith-response is inadequate. These episodes contribute to a rhetorical strategy whereby readers are continually challenged to understand the nature of genuine belief, in order that they might take on such genuine belief themselves.