A brief review of my Paul and the Rhetoric of Reversal has appeared in Journal for the Study of the New Testament, by Alan Le Grys. Le Grys has no dispute with my argument, though he says he finds it difficult to pin down the work’s core theme. Unfortunately I think he has in fact missed a key issue in my argument – I aim to propose that Paul does not utilise Greco-Roman models of rhetoric for his macro-structure, but rather finds his argument creatively shaped by his gospel – thus the subtitle of the book, ‘The Impact of Paul’s Gospel on His Macro-Rhetoric.’ So in the Introduction, I say:
I consider that Paul responds to this pastorally conceived problem [here referring to chapters 1-4] by making use of certain conventional rhetorical motifs and techniques at a micro-rhetorical level, but without utilising a conventional Greco-Roman macro-rhetorical arrangement. Rather, I argue that the conceptual governance of Paul’s kerygma makes good sense of the place of these opening chapters within the letter. (3)
But Le Grys says that I argue:
Paul uses standard Graeco-Roman rhetorical strategies at both micro and macro levels to build up a theological argument he hopes will be pastorally persuasive.
So I don’t appear to have made my key proposal sufficiently clear to Le Grys. Nevertheless, he very helpfully captures my sense of how Paul views the varied problems in Corinth:
A group of people in Corinth are drawing on the same theological pool of ideas as Paul to reach radically different conclusions about their own human status and perceived self-sufficiency. Paul sees this as the ultimate arrogance which denies God’s self-giving action in Christ demonstrated on the cross, and which threatens the integrity of the community as the (dependent) body of Christ.
The review is here.