By James W. Watts
Watts the following argues that conventions of oral rhetoric have been tailored to form the literary shape and contents of the Pentateuch. The large-scale structure-stories introducing lists of legislation that finish with divine sanctions-reproduces a typical old approach for persuasion. The legislation' use of direct handle, historic motivations and common repetitions serve rhetorical ends, or even the felony contradictions look designed to attract competing constituencies. the academic speeches of God and Moses toughen the persuasive attraction via characterizing God as a simply ruler and Moses as a devoted scribe. The Pentateuch used to be designed to cajole Persian-period Judaeans that this Torah may still outline their id as Israel.
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Additional resources for Reading Law: The Rhetorical Shaping of the Pentateuch
52-53. 34. Foster, Before the Muses, I, pp. 278-79. 35. Foster, Before the Muses, 1, pp. 297-98, 302, 304-306. 36. M. ; Berkeley. University of California Press, 1973, 1976, 1980), II, pp. 53-56, who noted that Seti's son, Ramses, in fact completed the temple and the endowment and commemorated that fact with an inscription at Abydos (p. 52). 2. 40 Another example, a fifth or fourth century BCE Greek dedicatory inscription found in Sardis in Asia Minor, demonstrates the influence of cultic instructions grounded in the story of a cult's establishment.
4-6). Curses, of course, form a widely attested inscriptional genre on their own, ranging from magical attacks on national enemies to personal vendettas (for Egyptian examples, see ANET, pp. G. G. Crawford, Blessing and Curse in Syro-Palestinian Inscriptions of the Iron Age [New York: Peter Lang, 1992]). 66 So a full description of the rhetorical force of most of the above texts should emphasize three interdependent elements: story, list and divine sanction. Conclusion Classical rhetorical theory is valuable to the study of biblical and other ancient Near Eastern documents because it preserves an ancient perspective on the forms and uses of persuasion.
2. 16 Rhetorical theory, then, may be applied to pre-Hellenistic literature in one way, but not in another. In so far as it speaks of general and universal characteristics of oral and literary persuasion, rhetorical theory addresses ancient Near Eastern texts as much as any others. But in so far as it speaks of the self-conscious use of theories about rhetoric, its application must be limited to the texts of cultures in which traditions of rhetorical theory are plainly present. Does rhetorical theory provide insight into the general issue of how narrative and law interact for purposes of persuasion?