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And I Turned to See the Voice: The Rhetoric of Vision in the New Testament

And I Turned to See the Voice: The Rhetoric of Vision in the New Testament

Edith M. Humphrey

| Baker Academic | 2007

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Although they do not constitute a dominant genre, vision-reports—such as those surrounding the nativity, the transfiguration and resurrection, Stephen’s martyrdom, and Jesus’ appearance to Saul—appear at crucial moments in numerous New Testament texts. Surprisingly, however, they have occasioned few detailed studies.

Edith Humphrey’s careful work neatly fills that gap in the scholarly literature. By means of a literary and rhetorical approach, Humphrey offers new insights into the use of vision-reports, moving beyond previous studies that have tended to focus only on the recorded event (what actually happened?) to the deeper polemic, literary, and theological dimensions (how and to what end do the authors embed the vision-report in their writings?).

Humphrey details four uses of vision-reports: to complete the narrative, to direct the argument, to shape the narrative, and to fire the imagination. Taking the cue from these narratives, which are at once “open” and “undirective,” she commends a hermeneutics of receptivity to the reader.

Author Bio

Dr. Edith M. Humphrey is the William F. Orr professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Prior to her service at PTS, she taught at several colleges and universities in Canada, and was professor of Scripture at Augustine College, Ottawa, Canada, from 1997–2002, where in her final year she served as dean. She earned her doctorate from McGill University in Montreal, where she was awarded the Governor General’s Gold Medal. The author of numerous articles on the literary and rhetorical study of the Bible, she has also written four books, including And I Turned to See the Voice: The Rhetoric of Vision in the New Testament and Ecstasy and Intimacy: When the Holy Spirit Meets the Human Spirit. Humphrey is a also coauthor of a series of theological workbooks for congregational use, entitled Wrestling with God.