The rhetorical function of the parable discourse in Matthew 13

Kim, Jae Soo (1996-11)

Thesis (DTh)--Stellenbosch University, 1996.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This thesis deals with a reinvention of rhetorical criticism and its application to the parable discourse. The first part of this study examines the theoretical background of rhetoric, and shows that rhetoric emerged as a disciplinary discourse after mythos and logos, and was used as the first systematic hermeneutical method. Rhetoric has developed in two directions: influence and system. Influence study keeps to the tradition of classical rhetoric, while system study covers the system of rhetoric by integrating classical rhetoric with modern human and social sciences. Through this process, rhetorical criticism has been established as a theory and a method for biblical study. Its focus has shifted from rhetoric restrained to rhetoric revalued/reinvented, a shift toward social/practical criticism from hermeneutics. Moreover, rhetorical criticism has begun to treat text as a dialogic, collaborate art or social activity rather than as a mere instrument of persuasion in the monologic scheme of speaker-message-audience, and occupies a prime position in biblical studies in the mode of either one-dimensional or a comprehensive multi-dimensional approach. It is clear that there has been a shift in the application of rhetorical criticism from the performance of rhetorical discourse to its archaeology (inventio). The second part investigates the parable discourse. I suggest that Jesus' parables are net rhetorical discourses of either the dominant Jewish or the dominant Hellenistic-Roman culture. Rather, it is a rhetorical discourse of the Christian subculture. In addition, Jesus' parables in Matthew 13 are not merely grouped but woven into a textus which has a rhetorical structure centred on a basic unit (chreia) to be elaborated. The parable discourse thus takes the pattern of chreia elaboration, and occupies the representative position in Matthew. Against this background, this thesis formulates dialogic rhetoric, as a mode of reinvented rhetoric which deals with invention, for studying the rhetorical function of the parable discourse in Matt 13. Dialogic rhetoric combines Burkean pentadic criticism, Bakthinean dialogic and the social scientific approach. This method differs from the recent historico-critical reading, the semiotic reading, the pragmatic reading in the study of the parable discourse, and also from the structural study carried out by discourse (colon), chiastic and triadic analysis. Dialogic rhetorical criticism has two dimensions. Centripetal rhetoric investigates various rhetorical strategies such as chreia elaboration, figures of dialogism, honour and shame, spatial arrangement, and dyadic personality. Multiple scenes, agents, acts, agencies and purposes in the parable discourse provide a special opportunity for Burkean critique. Centrifugal rhetoric examines the relationship between the parable discourse and two groups of discourses. The first group includes Man 12:46-50 and Matt 13:54-58 which frame the parable discourse, and the second comprises Jesus' other great discourses which, together with the parable discourse, provide key elements within the chiasm of Matthew's Gospel. In final assessment, I define the nature of Christian culture as represented in the parable discourse in terms of response to the world. The parable discourse configures conversionist, revolutionist and gnostic- manipulationist responses, particularly to the Hellenistic-Roman world of the first century. Therefore, I propose that the parable discourse has the function of separating the disciples from the crowds, and then promoting the building of community.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie proefskrif handel oor die herontdekking van retoriese kritiek en die toepassing daarvan op die gelykenis-materiaal, en val uiteen in twee afdelings: die teoretiese agtergrond van retoriek en die navorsing van gelykenis-materiaal. Die eerste afdeling van hierdie proefskrif behandel die teoretiese agtergrond van retoriek. Retoriek het ontwikkel as 'n dissiplinêre diskoers na mythos en logos, en het gefunksioneer as die eerste sistematiese hermeneutiese metode. Dit word tans op twee maniere nuut omskryf: die sogenaamde invloed-studie staan in die tradisie van klassieke retoriek, terwyl die sogenaamde sisteem-studie klassieke retoriek integreer met moderne menslike en sosiale wetenskappe. Die retoriese aard van Bybelse materiaal is vroeg reeds raakgesien, maar is nou algemeen bevestig. Retoriese kritiek as teorie en metode het ontwikkel vanaf beperkte retoriek na 'n herontdekte retoriek en word daarom nou beskou as sosiale aktivisme of praktiese kritiek op meta-hermeneutiese vlak. 'n Teks word deesdae beskou as dialogise, kollaboratiewe kuns of sosiale aktiwiteit eerder as oorredingsinstrument in die monologiese skema: spreker-boodskap-gehoor. Retoriese kritiek, hetsy as 'n enkelvoudige of 'n omvattende benadering, beklee dus 'n eersterangse posisie in die Bybelwetenskap. Dit is duidelik dat daar 'n ontwikkeling plaasgevind het in die toepassing van retoriek vanaf die performatiewe aard van die retoriese diskoers na die argeologie daarvan (inventio). Die tweede afdeling van hierdie proefskrif ondersoek die gelykenis-materiaal. Ek meen dat die gelykenisse van Jesus nie die retoriese diskoers van die dominante Joodse of Hellenisties-Romeinse kulture is nie, maar eerder die retoriese diskoers van die Christelike subkultuur. Verder is die gelykenisse in Matt 13 nie bloot saamgevoeg nie, maar ingeweef deur middel van 'n textus met 'n retoriese struktuur wat bestaan uit 'n basiese eenheid (chreia) met uitbreidings. Die gelykenis-materiaal neem dus die vorm aan van chreia uitbreiding, en neem die representatiewe posisie in Matteus in. Hierdie proefskrif postuleer dialogiese retoriek as 'n vorm van herontdekte retoriek, met klem op invention, vir die studie van die retoriese funksie van die gelykenisrede in Matt 13. So gesien, kombineer dialogiese retoriek Burke se vyfledige kritiek. Bakthin se dialogiese benadering en die sosiaal-wetenskaplike benadering. Hierdie metode word gekontrasteer met die onlangse histories-kritiese, semiotiese en pragmatiese benaderings in die gelykenis-navorsing, asook die strukturele benadering soos dit manifesteer in diskoers, chiastiese en triadiese analise. Dialogiese retoriese kritiek vertoon twee dimensies: sentripetaal en sentrifugaal. Sentripetale retoriek ondersoek verskeie retoriese strategieë soos chreia uitbreiding, dialogiese styl, eer en skande, ruimtelike inkleding en diadiese persoonlikheidstipes. 'n Veelvoud van plekke, agente, handelinge en bedoelinge in die gelykenis-materiaal maak die gelykenisrede besonder ontvanklik vir Burkeaanse kritiek. Sentrifugale retoriek ondersoek die verhouding tussen die gelykenisrede en twee ander diskoerse; Matt 12:46.50 en Matt 13:54-58 wat die gelykenisrede omraam, asook die ander toesprake van Jesus wat sleutelposisies binne die chiastiese struktuur van Matteus se Evangelie beklee. As finale bevinding, word die aard van die Christelike kultuur soos aangebied in die gelykenisrede in terme van 'n antwoord aan die wêreld gedefinieer. Die gelykenisrede artikuleer bekerings-, revolusie- en gnosties-manipulasie-reaksies in terme van die eerste- eeuse HeIlenisties-Romeinse wêreld. Gevolglik, stel ek voor dat die gelykenisrede die funksie vervul om die dissipels van die skare af te sonder, en om gemeenskapsbou te bevorder.

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