Opening – Middle – Closing Texture and Prophetic Rhetorolect in

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Prophetic Rhetorolect in Matthew
12:1-8
Lecture by
Vernon K. Robbins
Produced by Sam Bradford
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Prophetic Rhetorolect in Matthew
12:1-8
Lecture by
Vernon K. Robbins
Produced by Sam Bradford
NO AUDIO
Review of Socio-Rhetorical Terms
click links to explore Socio-Rhetorical terms
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Opening-Middle-Closing Texture:
SR online dictionary definition
SR audio files
Narrational Texture:
SR online dictionary definition
SR audio files
NO AUDIO
Matthew 12:1-8
FOR YOU TO READ, IF YOU WISH
1 At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the
sabbath; his disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck
heads of grain and to eat.
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2 When the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look, your
disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the sabbath.”
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3 He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when
he and his companions were hungry?
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4 He entered the house of God and ate the bread of the
Presence, which it was not lawful for him or his companions to
eat, but only for the priests.
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NO AUDIO
Matthew 12:1-8
continued
FOR YOU TO READ, IF YOU WISH
5 Or have you not read in the law that on the sabbath
the priests in the temple break the sabbath and yet are
guiltless?
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6 I tell you, something greater than the temple is here.
7 But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire
mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned
the guiltless.
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8 For the Son of Man is lord of the sabbath.”
NO AUDIO
Matthew 15:1-14
To provide a comparison between wisdom and prophetic rhetorolects in
Matthew
FOR YOU TO READ, IF YOU WISH
1Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said,
2“Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do
not wash their hands before they eat.”
3He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of
God for the sake of your tradition?
4For God said, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever
speaks evil of father or mother must surely die.’
5But you say that whoever tells father or mother, ‘Whatever support
you might have had from me is given to God,’ then that person need
not honor the father.
6So, for the sake of your tradition, you make void the word of God.
7You hypocrites! Isaiah prophesied rightly about you when he said:
8‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me;
9in vain do they worship me,
teaching human precepts as doctrines .’”
NO AUDIO
Matthew 15:1-14 continued
To provide a comparison between wisdom and prophetic rhetorolects in
Matthew
FOR YOU TO READ, IF YOU WISH
10 Then he called the crowd to him and said to them, “Listen and
understand:
11it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is
what comes out of the mouth that defiles.”
12Then the disciples approached and said to him, “Do you know that
the Pharisees took offence when they heard what you said?”
13He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not
planted will be uprooted.
14Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if one blind
person guides another, both will fall into a pit.”
NO AUDIO
Matthew 12:1-8 as Prophetic
Discourse
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Large impact of Prophetic
Rhetorolect on early Christian
tradition
Christians continue past traditions
Matthew 12 is an example of
Prophetic Rhetorolect, Matthew 15 is
an example of Wisdom Rhetorolect
Opening – Middle – Closing of Matthew 12:1-8
Opening:
1 At that time
Jesus went
through the
grainfields on
the sabbath;
his disciples
were hungry,
and they
began to
pluck heads of
grain and to
eat.
•
= Narrational
Texture
Middle:
I. 2 When the Pharisees saw it, they said
to him, “Look, your disciples are doing
what is not lawful to do on the sabbath.”
II. 3 He said to them, “Have you not read
what David did when he and his
companions were hungry?
4 He entered the house of God and ate
the bread of the Presence, which it was
not lawful for him or his companions to
eat, but only for the priests.
III. 5 Or have you not read in the law that
on the sabbath the priests in the temple
break the sabbath and yet are guiltless?
6 I tell you, something greater than the
temple is here.
Observations:
 Opening is entirely Narrative
 Parts I and II of Middle have Narrative introduction
 OMC sections and subsections are open to interpretation
Closing:
7 But if you
had known
what this
means, ‘I
desire mercy
and not
sacrifice,’ you
would not
have
condemned
the guiltless.
8 For the Son
of Man is lord
of the
sabbath.”
Function of the Pharisees
Part I of Middle:
I.2 When the Pharisees saw it, they said to
him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is
not lawful to do on the sabbath.”
 Function of Pharisees is to find fault,
accusing the disciples of breaking the
sabbath
 Note: Not in the form of a question
Wisdom Questions vs. Prophetic
Questions
Question in Wisdom Rhetorolect 
seeking information, a genuine
question
Question in Prophetic Rhetorolect 
makes an accusation, accuses of
wrong thought and behavior
Examples of Prophetic and
Wisdom Questions in Galatians 3
See Galatians 3:
3:1 You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?...
3:2 The only thing I want to know from you is this: Did you receive the
Spirit by doing works of the law or by believing what you heard?
3:3 Are you so foolish?...
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Prophetic questions
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Initial assertion  “You foolish Galatians!”
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Thought connected with questions
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Accusation – someone has bewitched you
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Questions in both Rhetorolects can include rhetorical questions, as a
way for a teacher to continue
3:19 Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the
offspring would come to whom the promise had been made…
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Genuine Question, Paul acts as a teacher
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Shift to Wisdom Rhetorolect, as early as verse 6
How Jesus speaks to the
Pharisees (1)
Matthew 12:3 He said to them,
“Have you not read what David did
when he and his companions were
hungry?
Implication  the Pharisees have not
read the law
Not instructional
PROPHETIC
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How Jesus speaks to the
Pharisees (2)
12:4 He [David] entered the house of God and ate the bread
of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him or his
companions to eat, but only for the priests.
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Relation to Prophetic discourse: people do not realize they
are breaking the law, even though they appear to be
righteous and proper.
Also, what may appear to be improper may actually be
proper
Pharisees are supposed to be very familiar with the law
Jesus functions in their domain, and has very skillful
interpretation, as they do – on their level, in their arena
Jesus interprets from prophets in 1 Samuel 21
How Jesus speaks to the
Pharisees (3)
Jesus interprets from prophets in 1 Samuel 21
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And also from Numbers, a book in the Torah  the Pharisees’ primary
text:
12:5 Or have you not read in the law that on the sabbath the priests in the
temple break the sabbath and yet are guiltless?
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Not supposed to work on the sabbath, but priests do  “work” is not clear
cut
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Three step process:
1.
Pharisees accusing Jesus’ disciples of wrongdoing
2.
Jesus challenges Pharisees with Prophetic text
3.
Jesus challenges Pharisees with text from the Torah
Jesus also quotes from Hosea, another prophetic book in verse 7:
But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you
would not have condemned the guiltless.
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Result: Prophetic Discourse
WELL DONE!!
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You have successfully completed the
lesson on how Matthew 12:1-8 is an
example of Prophetic Rhetorolect
Have a great day!

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