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Characterizing Jesus: A Rhetorical Analysis on the Fourth Gospel’s Use of Scripture in Its Presentation of Jesus

Characterizing Jesus: A Rhetorical Analysis on the Fourth Gospel’s Use of Scripture in Its Presentation of Jesus

Alicia D. Myers

| Bloomsbury | 2013

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This study explores how the Fourth Gospel’s use of Scripture contributes to its characterization of Jesus. Utilizing literary-rhetorical criticism, Myers approaches the Gospel in its final form, paying particular attention to how Greco-Roman rhetoric can assist in understanding the ways in which Scripture is employed to support the presentation of Jesus. It offers further evidence in favor of the Gospel’s use of rhetoric (particularly synkrisis, ekpharsis, and prosopopoiia), and gives scholars a new way to use rhetoric to better understand the use of Scripture in the Fourth Gospel and the New Testament as a whole.

The book proceeds in three parts. First, it examines ancient Mediterranean practices of narration and characterization in relationship to the Gospel, concluding with an analysis of the Johannine prologue. In the second and third parts, it investigates explicit appeals to Scripture that are made both in and outside of Jesus’ discourses. Through these analyses, Myers contends that the pervasive presence of Scripture in quotations, allusions, and references acts as corroborating evidence supporting the evangelist’s presentation of Jesus.