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Not with Wisdom of Words
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Not with Wisdom of Words


Eerdmans 2016

Runs on Windows, Mac and mobile.

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Gathering Interest


Many texts in the New Testament do more than simply explain the main tenets of the Christian faith; they invite believers to imagine and experience their theological claims. In Not with Wisdom of Words Gary Selby shows how biblical authors used poetic, imaginative language to inspire their audiences to experience a heightened sense of God's presence.

In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

Key Features

  • Emphasizes that the kinds of language in the Bible affect our experience of faith
  • Calls attention to the riches of the language of Scripture
  • Draws out of the difference between discussing the Bible and experiencing the Bible


  • Introduction
  • Rhetoric, Poetics, and the Ecstasy of Faith
  • Visions of the End (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)
  • Performing Despair (Romans 7:14-25)
  • Rhapsody on Love (1 Corinthians 13)
  • United in Worship (Ephesians 1:3-14)
  • Reconfiguring the Rhetorical Encounter, Part One: Placing Hearers “in” the Content
  • Reconfiguring the Rhetorical Encounter, Part Two: Removing the Rhetor, Constituting the Community
  • Conclusion: A Discourse for the Church

Praise for the Print Edition

Focusing on units of poetic rhetoric in the New Testament that activate the holistic nature of faith, Selby exhibits rhetorical interpretation that considers more how texts transform rather than what they mean. By visioning, performing, rhapsodizing, uniting, encountering, and activating exchange in community, New Testament texts fill human consciousness with visual images, emotions, dispositions, and convictions that habitually (or "liturgically") compel the hearer to participate in nurturing, loving ways even in contexts of despair. An excellent contribution on the forefront of rhetorical interpretation.

—Vernon K. Robbins, Emory University

Not with Wisdom of Words makes an important contribution to biblical criticism, especially for those interested in how the Bible creates a spiritual experience in readers. Selby broadens the scope of rhetorical criticism, showing that Paul goes beyond rational argument to use poetic mimesis in selected passages, thereby changing the audience and creating a kairotic opening that may occasion a numinous experience.

—Dale L. Sullivan, North Dakota State University

Gary Selby is well-read in classical rhetoric and the New Testament. . . . This work offers much-needed recognition of the dramatic and imaginative world of Paul's rhetoric

—Anthony C. Thiselton, University of Nottingham

Product Details

About Gary Selby

Gary Selby is professor of communication at Pepperdine University. He has a PhD in public communication from the University of Maryland and a Masters of Theology from the Harding University Graduate School of Religion. Gary Selby is interested in rhetorical theory and criticism, public address, and especially, in the role that communication plays in effective public and organizational leadership. His research interests range from religious communication and religion and politics, to discourses related to racial conflict in American history.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition