Figuring Jesus

The Power of Rhetorical Figures of Speech in the Gospel of Luke


This book examines the Lukan Jesus' speech, specifically his use of rhetorical figures of speech, as a means of determining Luke's message and rhetorical strategy of persuasion. Classical rhetoric dominated both Greco-Roman higher education and public discourse in the first-century Mediterranean world. Thus, both authors and audiences in this era were familiar with the rudiments of rhetoric whether or not they had formal rhetorical training. Rhetorical figures of speech would have been easily recognized by an ancient audience, arresting their attention. Luke used figures of speech on the lips of Jesus as a means of persuading his audience of his role-reversing message that threatened to turn the religious, political, social, and economic systems of the Roman Empire upside-down.
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Biographical Note

Keith A. Reich, Ph.D. (2010) in Biblical Studies, Baylor University, is adjunct professor at Baylor University, Waco, Texas.

Table of contents

Chapter One: Introduction
The Problem
How does the Lukan Jesus Communicate
Figures of Speech
Rhetoric and Ancient Figures of Speech
What Does this Mode of Communication Accomplish
Review of Literature

Chapter Two: Figures of Speech and the Stylistic Virtues of Clarity and Ornamentation The Stylistic Virtue of Clarity and Ornamentation
Examples of Figures of Clarity
The Stylistic Virtue of Ornamentation
Examples of Figures of Ornamentation

Chapter Three: Figures of Speech and the Art of Argumentation and Persuasion
The Art of Inducing Aporia
Examples of Aporia Figures
The Art of Inviting Audience Participation
Examples of Audience Participation Figures

Chapter Four: The Power of Figures of Speech in Communicating a Role-Reversing Message
Religious Boundary Systems
Examples of Role-Reversing Figures in Religious Boundary Systems
The Agrarian Stratification System
Examples of Role-Reversing Figures in the
Agrarian Social Stratification System
The Patron-Client System
Examples of Role-Reversing Figures in the Patron-Client System
The Honor-Shame System
Examples of Role-Reversing Figures in the Honor-Shame System
Mediterranean Kinship Groups
Examples of Role-Reversing Figures in Mediterranean Kinship Groups

Chapter Five: Conclusion

Further Study and Concluding Comments
Alphabetical List of Figures of Speech used by the Lukan Jesus


All those interested in Lukan studies, gospel studies, general New Testament studies, rhetorical criticism of the Bible, classical rhetoric, linguistics, and philology.


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