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Performance Criticism of the Pauline Letters (Bernhard Oestreich) Paperback Book, (Cascade Books, 2016) 9781498298315
Performance Criticism of the Pauline Letters (Bernhard Oestreich) Paperback Book, (Cascade Books, 2016) 9781498298315
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Title: Performance Criticism of the Pauline Letters

Author: Oestreich, Bernhard

Additional Authors or Contributors: Lindsay Elias, Brent Blum (trans)

Publisher: Cascade Books; Publication Date: 2016

Paperback; ISBN: 9781498298315

Volumes: 1; Pages: 366

List Price in Paper: $44.00 Our price: $32.99

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Receiving a letter from Paul was a major event in the early churches. Given the orally oriented culture of the time, a letter was designed to be read out loud in front of an audience. The document was an intermediate state for the local transport of the message, but the actual medium of communication was the performance event. This event was embedded in the written text in a manner comparable to a theater script. After careful preparation because of high expectations from ancient audiences, a presenter embodied the message with his voice, gazes, and gestures and made it not only understood but jointly experienced.

After presenting a short history of performance criticism, this book clarifies what is meant by the highly ambiguous term "performance" and develops steps to analyze ancient texts in order to find and understand the embedded signals of performance. This leads to a critical assessment of the potential of performance criticism as a method. Then, the method is applied to the Pauline Epistles and other early Christian letters. It proves to be highly rewarding: difficult passages become comprehensible, new aspects come to light, the text's impact on the audience is felt--in short, the texts come alive.



by Glenn S. Holland

Preface to the German Edition

Preface to the English Translation



1. Theory of Performance Criticism

History of the Method

The Essence of Performance

Methodology of Performance Criticism

2. Influencing Audience Interaction by Use of Letters

Addressing a Divided Audience

Singling out Individual Listeners

Focusing on the Reader as Communications Medium

3. Strategies in Letter Writing to Achieve Reconciliation

Controversy in Rome over Diet (Romans 14:1-15:13)

Instituting Friendship (Plato, Sixth Letter)

Establishing Peace after Unrest (Claudius to the Alexandrians)

Tensions in Corinth Due to Spiritual Gifts (1 Corinthians 12:3)

The Relationship of the Leaders to Those Being Led

4. Strategies in Letter Writing to Achieve Separation

Winning Back the Listeners (Galatians)

Expelling the Opponents (First Letter of Clement)

Summary and Perspectives


Author Index

Subject index

Ancient Document Index
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