Experiencing Ancient Texts Through Storytelling
by Phil Ruge-Jones
Texas Lutheran University
Texas Lutheran University
from the Perseus Project
 And yet I do not fail to realize what a great difference there is in persuasiveness between discourses which are spoken and those which are to be read, and that all men have assumed that the former are delivered on subjects which are important and urgent, while the latter are composed for display and personal gain. And this is a natural conclusion; for when a discourse is robbed of the prestige of the speaker, the tones of his voice, the variations which are made in the delivery, and, besides, of the advantages of timeliness and keen interest in the subject matter; when it has not a single accessory to support its contentions and enforce its plea, but is deserted and stripped of all the aids which I have mentioned; and when someone reads it aloud without persuasiveness and without putting any personal feeling into it, but as though he were repeating a table of figures,-- in these circumstances it is natural, I think, that it should make an indifferent impression upon its hearers. And these are the very circumstances which may detract most seriously also from the discourse which is now presented to you and cause it to impress you as a very indifferent performance; the more so since I have not adorned it with the rhythmic flow and manifold graces of style which I myself employed when I was younger1 and taught by example to others as a means by which they might make their oratory more pleasing and at the same time more convincing.
In The Multilingual Jesus and the Sociolinguistic World of the New Testament, Hughson Ong provides a study of the multifarious social and linguistic dynamics that compose the speech community of ancient Palestine, which include its historical linguistic shifts under different military regimes, its geographical linguistic landscape, the social functions of the languages in its linguistic repertoire, and the specific types of social contexts where those languages were used. Using a sociolinguistic model, his study attempts to paint a portrait of the sociolinguistic situation of ancient Palestine. This book is arguably the most comprehensive treatment of the subject matter to date in terms of its survey of the secondary literature and of its analysis of the sociolinguistic environment of first-century Palestine.
(Peter Lang, 2015)
This book breaks fresh ground in the interpretation of the Apocalypse with an interdisciplinary methodology called aural-performance criticism that assesses how the first-century audience would have heard the Apocalypse. First-century media culture is probed by assessing the dynamics of literacy, orality, aurality, and performance in the Gospels, parts of the Pauline corpus, and also Jewish apocalyptic literature. The audience constructs of informed, minimal, and competent assist the interpreter to apply the methodology. Sound maps and an aural-performance commentary of Revelation 1 and 11 are developed that analyze aural markers, sound style, identity markers, repetition, themes, and the appropriation of the message by the audience. The book concludes by examining the sociological, theological, and communal aspects of aurality and performance and its implications for interpreting the Apocalypse.
This book uses social memory theory to evaluate the miracle stories of Peter and Paul in three second-century texts: canonical Acts, the Acts of Peter and the Acts of Paul. Far from negligible to the spread of early Christianity, the memory of Jesus' miracles and those related to apostles Peter and Paul was important for establishing early Christian identity and promoting discipleship. The memory of miracles of Peter and Paul was retained and developed in an effort to promote imitation of Jesus in second-century Christian communities.