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In view of the current debate on the application of Greek and Roman rhetoric to biblical texts, C. Joachim Classen aims at determining both the opportunities and the limits of such forms of criticism, stressing the importance of supplementing the ancient categories with modern categories. He emphasizes the difference between letters such as Paul’ s epistles and other kinds of texts, for example the gospels, and the need to select the aspects and criteria of rhetorical criticism accordingly and tries to illustrate how such criticism may be practiced. In addition, he answers the question to what extent Paul was familiar with Greek rhetoric by an examination of his vocabulary. Classen analyzes at length Melanchthon’ s early lectures, his handbooks, and his commentaries to show some of the roots of this type of criticism, the manner in which its greatest exponent developed it, and the qualities ideally required for its successful application.
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