Rhetorical analysis and sociological analysis in historical Jesus research L. GREGORY BLOOMQUIST Abstract In this article I suggest ways in which rhetorical analysis can complement sociological analysis of early Christianity. On the basis of a universally ac- knowledged saying of Jesus ("blessed are you poor"), I suggest that those who use social scientific perspectives need to clarify more accurately the lev- els of data from which they are working (i.e., when they are working with probably early material, possibly the words of Jesus himself, and when they are working with the later elaboration of the traditional material) and to identify the rhetorical value of each level. I then show how, contrary to socio- logical analysis that depicts Jesus as merely proclaiming reversal, the histori- cal Jesus proclaimed a reversal that had already happened but one that was away from God's intended order: what the historical Jesus was calling for was a future restoration to a state that existed before the reversal. Attention to the rhetorical nature of his follower's use of this proclamation, however, shows that when the author of the Gospel of Luke and the Lukan Acts of the Apos- tles uses the language of reversal and
Method & Theory in the Study of Religion – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1997
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