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.
Gary S. Selby holds the Carl P. Miller Chair of Communication at Pepperdine University and serves as director of the Pepperdine Center for Faith and Learning. He is also the author of Martin Luther King and the Rhetoric of Freedom: The Exodus Narrative in Americas Struggle for Civil Rights.
Vernon K. Robbins
"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."
Dale L. Sullivan
North Dakota State 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."
Anthony C. Thiselton
University of Nottingham
"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 Pauls rhetoric."