Classical Rhetorical Analysis on Paul’s Character in His Speech at Miletus (Acts 20:18–35)
Keywords:Miletus Speech, Rhetoric, Rhetorical Criticism, Character, Ethos
In his speech at Miletus (Acts 20:18–25), Paul talks about himself repeatedly. Such emphasis on the character of Paul inevitably raises some questions regarding the function of the emphasis. This article attempts to understand the function of the emphasis on the character of Paul in the Miletus speech. The method used to analyze the speech is the classical rhetorical method. Classical rhetoric follows the convention of ancient Greco-Roman rhetoric to examine how a speech persuades the audience to act according to what the speaker intends. In studying the Miletus speech, the author will investigate several elements from classical rhetoric, such as the rhetorical invention, with particular discussion to ethos (character), pathos (emotion), and logos (the logic of the argumentation), the rhetorical species, the rhetorical arrangement, and the rhetorical effectiveness. The main argument of this article is that the emphasis on Paul’s character functions as the basis for the accountability of Paul’s ministry and the basis for his exhortation to the elders of the Ephesian church.
Aristotle. The Art of Rhetoric. London: Harvard University Press, 1926. https://doi.org/10.4159/DLCL.aristotle-art_rhetoric.1926. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4159/DLCL.aristotle-art_rhetoric.1926
Aubert, Bernard. The Shepherd-Flock Motif in the Miletus Discourse (Acts 20:17–38) Against Its Historical Background. New York: Peter Lang, 2009. https://doi.org/10.3726/978-1-4539-0431-2. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3726/978-1-4539-0431-2
Black, C. Clifton. “Rhetorical Criticism.” In Hearing the New Testament: Strategies for Interpretation, edited by Joel B. Green, 166–188. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2010.
Black, C. Clifton. “The Rhetorical Form of the Hellenistic Jewish and Early Christian Sermon: A Response to Lawrence Wills.” Harvard Theological Review 81 (1988): 1–18. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0017816000009925. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0017816000009925
Bock, Darrell L. Acts. Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2007.
Dinkler, Michal Beth. “New Testament Rhetorical Narratology: An Invitation toward Integration.” Biblical Interpretation 24, no. 2 (April 18, 2016): 203–228. https://doi.org/10.1163/15685152–00242p04. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/15685152-00242p04
Exum, Cheryl, and Charles Talbert. “The Structure of Paul’s Speech to the Ephesian Elders.” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 29 (1967): 233–236.
Gaventa, Beverly R. “Theology and Ecclesiology in the Miletus Speech: Reflections on Content and Context.” New Testament Studies 50, no. 1 (January 2004): 36–52. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0028688504000037. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0028688504000037
Hemer, Colin J. “The Speeches of Acts: I. The Ephesian Elders at Miletus.” Tyndale Bulletin 40 (1989): 77–85.
Holmes, Michael W. The Greek New Testament. SBL Edition. Society of Biblical Literature, 2010.
Keener, Craig S. Acts: An Exegetical Commentary. Vol. 3. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2014.
Kennedy, George A. A New Testament Interpretation through Rhetorical Criticism. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1984. https://doi.org/10.5149/9781469616254_Kennedy. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5149/9781469616254_Kennedy
Lambrecht, J. “Paul’s Farewell-Address at Miletus (Acts 20, 17-38).” In Pauline Studies: Collected Essays, 369–400. Leuven: Leuven University Press, 1994.
Mack, Burton L. Rhetoric and the New Testament. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 1990.
McGee, Zane B. “Transitioning Authority and Paul’s Farewell Address: Examining the Narrative Function of Acts 20.” Stone-Campbell Journal 20 (2017): 203–214.
Pervo, Richard I. Acts. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2010.
Rowe, Galen O. “Style.” In Handbook of Classical Rhetoric in the Hellenistic Period (330 B.C. - A.D. 400), edited by Stanley E. Porter, 121–157. Leiden: Brill, 2001.
Satterthwaite, Philip E. “Acts against the Background of Classical Rhetoric.” In The Book of Acts in Its Ancient Literary Setting, edited by Bruce W. Winter and Andrew D. Clarke, 337–379. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1993.
Shipp, Blake. “George Kennedy’s Influence on Rhetorical Interpretation of the Acts of the Apostles.” In Words Well Spoken: George Kennedy’s Rhetoric of the New Testament, edited by C. Clifton Black and Duane F. Watson, 107–123. Baylor: Baylor University Press, 2008.
Soards, M. L. The Speeches of Acts: Their Contents, Contexts, and Concerns. Louisville: WJK, 1994.
Stamps, Dennis L. “Rhetorical Criticism of the New Testament: Ancient and Modern Evaluation of Argumentation.” In Approaches to New Testament Studies, edited by Stanley E. Porter, 129–169. Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1995.
Thompson, Alan J. “Paul as Pastor in Acts: Modelling and Teaching Perseverance in the Faith.” In Paul as Pastor, edited by Brian S. Rosner, Andrew S. Malone, and Trevor J. Burke, 17–30. London: T&T Clark, 2018. https://doi.org/10.5040/9780567677938.ch-002. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5040/9780567677938.ch-002
Thurén, Lauri. “Foreword.” In Rhetoric and Scripture: Collected Essays of Thomas H. Olbricht, edited by Lauri Thurén, xi–xiii. Atlanta: SBL Press, 2021. https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctv1j9mjs2.4. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctv1j9mjs2.4
Walton, Steve. “Acts: Many Questions, Many Answers.” In The Face of New Testament Studies: A Survey of Recent Research, edited by Scot McKnight and Grant R. Osborne, 229–254. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2004.
Walton, Steve. Leadership and Lifestyle: The Portrait of Paul in the Miletus Speech and 1 Thessalonians. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.
Walton, Steve. “Rhetorical Criticism: An Introduction.” Themelios 21, no. 2 (1996): 4–9.
Watson, Duane F. Invention, Arrangement, and Style: Rhetorical Criticism of Jude and 2 Peter. Atlanta: SBL, 1988.
Watson, Duane F. “Paul’s Speech to the Ephesian Elders (Acts 20.17-38).” In Persuasive Artistry: Studies in New Testament Rhetoric in Honor of George A. Kennedy, edited by Duane F. Watson, 184–208. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1991.
Watson, Duane F. “The Influence of George Kennedy on Rhetorical Criticism of the New Testament.” In Words Well Spoken: George Kennedy’s Rhetoric of the New Testament, edited by C. Clifton Black and Duane F. Watson, 41–61. Baylor: Baylor University Press, 2008.
Witherington, Ben. New Testament Rhetoric: An Introductory Guide to the Art of Persuasion in and of the New Testament. Eugene: Cascade Books, 2009.
Witherington, Ben. The Acts of the Apostles: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2021 Dany Christopher
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.