1 Subsequently published as James A. Muilenburg, "Form Criticism and Beyond," JBL 88 (1969) 1-18. Abbreviations and bibliographic style follow Patrick H. Alexander et al., The SBL Handbook of Style: For Ancient Near Eastern, Biblical, and Early Christian Studies (Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 1999).

2 Roth speaks of "the terminological difficulty introduced by Muilenburg into HB interpretation," noting especially Kennedy's use of classical systems (W. M. W. Roth, "Rhetorical Criticism, Hebrew Bible," DBI 2:397.

3 Muilenburg, 1-2.

4 Ibid., 7.

5 Ibid., 18.

6 Roy F. Melugin, "Muilenburg, Form Criticism, and Theological Exegesis," in Encounter With the Text: Form and History in the Hebrew Bible (Semeia Supplement 8, ed. M.J. Buss; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1979), 94.

7 Muilenburg, 7. The correct name is Alonso-Shökel. Muilenburg also mentioned König, Lowth, Herder, Sievers, Ewald, Budde, Duhm, Cassuto, Albright, Cross, Freedman, Gerleman, Krinetski, Good, Carlson, and Holladay as being interested in stylistic matters. Muilenburg himself had emphasized literary style in his commentary on Second Isaiah (James Muilenburg, "Introduction" and "Exegesis" for Isaiah 40-66, in The Interpreter's Bible, vol. 5 (ed. G.A. Buttrick; New York: Abingdon, 1956), 381-418, 422-773).

8 Muilenburg, "Form Criticism and Beyond," 8. Watson and Hauser note many other commentators who were attentive to rhetoric and style: Augustine, Melanchthon, Erasmus, Calvin, K. Bauer, Royaards, Wilke, Blass, Norden, Heinrici, König, Weiss, Bultmann, Windisch, Jebb, and Bullinger (Duane F. Watson and Alan J. Hauser, Rhetorical Criticism of the Bible: A Comprehensive Bibliography with Notes on History and Method (Leiden: Brill, 1994), 101-5.

9 Muilenburg, "Form Criticism," 8. This definition has been the point of comparison for almost all further discussions of this field—quoted in full by many, cited by most others.

10 Kselman categorized Muilenburg's primary interest as stylistics: "Since Muilenburg's appeal for a renewed interest in stylistics, there have been a spate of studies...." (John S. Kselman, "Design and Structure in Hebrew Poetry," in SBLSP 1980, ed. Paul J. Achtemeier, (Chico: Scholars, 1980), 1). Kselman summarized his own paper as being about "some of the techniques used by the poets of the Hebrew Bible" (11).

Dozeman also categorized Muilenburg's program as stylistics: "This shift in study to the unique features in a given text goes to the heart of rhetorical criticism as it was conceived by Muilenburg, for it gives rise to the study of stylistics of composition in Hebrew prose and poetry" (Thomas B. Dozeman, "Rhetoric and Rhetorical Criticism: OT Rhetorical Criticism," ABD 5:713-15.

Watson and Hauser claim that Muilenburg did not intend to restrict rhetorical criticism to stylistics, but still admit that this is the way observers have perceived the results (18 n. 31). They argue that rhetorical criticism should include the impact on the audience, a concern that Muilenburg did not mention.

Even in 1994, Howard could write that "rhetorical criticism has tended to be primarily a literary concern, with emphasis upon stylistics" (David M. Howard, "Rhetorical Criticism in Old Testament Studies," BBR 4 (1994) 87.

11 Aristotle, Rhetoric I.1.2, translated by W. Rhys Roberts, n.p. [cited 16 Feb. 2000] Online: http://classics .mit.edu/Aristotle/rhetoric.1.i.html). Howard cites this quote as Aristotle, Rhetoric (New York: Random House, 1954) 1355b, lines 26-27.

Majercik gives a more generic definition: "Rhetoric is the art of composition by which language is made descriptive, interpretive, or persuasive" (Ruth Majercik, "Rhetoric and Rhetorical Criticism," ABD 5:712).

12 George A. Kennedy, New Testament Interpretation Through Rhetorical Criticism (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 1984), 3. Lundbom writes, "Rhetorical criticism in the Muilenburg tradition is therefore perceived by many as being little more than an exercise in textual description—perceptive and sensitive description, to be sure, especially when the mast was at work—but textual description all the same" (Jack R. Lundbom, Jeremiah: A Study in Ancient Hebrew Rhetoric (Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 1997), xxviii). His valuable introduction to rhetorical criticism is not in the first edition of his book.

Lundbom notes that Muilenburg went "beyond textual description by showing an interest in discerning the author's intent, development of thought, and meaning. But his agenda is still too limited for rhetorical critics with classical and modern interests. This is due more to the unique circumstances under which OT rhetorical criticism is forced to operate than to narrow scholarly interests on the part of Muilenburg" (xxx). Those unique circumstances include the lack of information about speaker, audience and situation except for what we can infer from the text itself (xxix).

13 Patricia K. Tull, "Rhetorical Criticism and Intertextuality," in To Each Its Own Meaning: An Introduction to Biblical Criticisms and Their Application, rev. ed. (ed. Steven L. McKenzie and Stephen R. Haynes; Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1999), 156.

"Ironically, Muilenburg's use of the term `rhetorical criticism' to refer to stylistic analysis reflected the very reduction that had helped signal rhetoric's eclipse in earlier centuries" (ibid., 160).

14 Ibid.

15 Watson and Hauser, 105.

16 Lundbom, xx.

17 The literary analysis was a major achievement in itself, especially for 1956, and I do not wish to disparage the results in any way by observing that Muilenburg rarely discussed the function of the literary devices, or how they supported the message of the text. He discussed the message of the text, and how it might affect the audience, but he did not discuss at any length how the devices supported the writer's purpose. There was no room for such a discussion in the Interpreter's Bible. Muilenburg's work provides a substantial foundation for further study of the persuasive impact of the literary structure and style.

18 Muilenburg, IB 5:434, 447-48, 451, 460-61, 463, 474. This is just a small sample; stylistic comments can be found on almost every page.

19 Ibid., 471.

20 J. Kenneth Kuntz, "The Contribution of Rhetorical Criticism to Understanding Isaiah 51:1-16," in Art and Meaning: Rhetoric in Biblical Literature. JSOTS 19 (ed. David J.A. Clines et al.; Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1982) 140-171. I use Kuntz here as an example, but similar things could be said about other scholars using a stylistic-focused rhetorical criticism.

21 Wuellner describes the tendency of rhetorical critics as "an estheticizing preoccupation with biblical stylistics which has remained for centuries formalized, and functionless, and contextless" (Wilhelm Wuellner, "Where Is Rhetorical Criticism Taking Us?," CBQ 49 (1987) 462). In his word "contextless," Wuellner aptly described my feeling that Kuntz's article would be little different if he treated six separate verses from six different books of the Bible. It would be a series of interesting observations about Hebrew poetry style, but with little done to tie the elements together. The word "functionless" is also an apt one.

22 I make a similar critique of the professor's analysis of the structure of Psalm 104, which was given to the class as part of our readings for rhetorical criticism (Leslie C. Allen, Psalms 101-150, WBC 21 (Dallas: Word, 1983), 31-35): There is a detailed structural analysis, and a good explanation, but the link between the two is obscure. I do not see a discussion of how the rhetorical structure supports the aim of the passage.

23 Kuntz, 165. Although he mentions Israel's calling as one of the two main purposes of the passage, he does not develop the thought any further than this one sentence. He seems unconcerned about the purpose of the passage, illustrating what I believe is an emphasis on style to the neglect of function.

24 I quote several of these observers, as well as several who say that rhetorical criticism ought to go beyond stylistics, beyond the kind of work that Muilenburg did. Childs, for one, criticized Muilenburg's commentary for being too attentive to literary aesthetics to the neglect of the theological message (Brevard Childs, Old Testament Books for Pastor and Teacher (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1977), 73, cited by Phyllis Trible, Rhetorical Criticism: Context, Method, and the Book of Jonah (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1994), 106). Brueggemann says that rhetorical criticism is "too enamored of style to notice speech as a means and source of power" ("At the Mercy of Babylon: A Subversive Rereading of the Empire," JBL 101 (1991) 17-19, cited by Trible, 52.

25 Dale Patrick and Allen Scult, Rhetoric and Biblical Interpretation. JSOTSup 82 (Sheffield: Almond, 1990), 12.

26 C. Clifton Black II, "Keeping up with Recent Studies VXI. Rhetorical Criticism and Biblical Interpretation," ET 100 (1989) 253-54. Black says that this "too narrow" and he praises Kennedy's approach not only for including persuasion but also for its "more painstaking" methodology (254-55).

27 Richard J. Clifford, "Rhetorical Criticism in the Exegesis of Hebrew Poetry," in Achtemeier, SBLSP, 18.

28 Ibid., 19.

29 Ibid., 21.

30 Wuellner, 451-2. Further evidence for the overlap between rhetorical and literary criticism can be seen in Trible's comment that Alter's analysis "reflected" rhetorical criticism, and that "Rhetoric occupied a significant place in [Meir] Sternberg's poetics.... He gave attention to...persuasive communication" (Trible, 76-77).

Roth says that if rhetorical criticism is defined by an interest in literary features, then "literary-critical analyses that are not expressly identified as rhetorical criticism are equally of importance, e.g....R. Alter's two books on `the art of biblical narrative and of biblical poetry'" (Roth, 397).

31 Tull, 175.

32 Duane F. Watson, "Rhetorical Criticism," ISBE 4:182.

33 Watson and Hauser, 3. I will discuss authorial intent later.

34 Kennedy, 3.

35 Martin Kessler, "A Methodological Setting for Rhetorical Criticism," in Clines et al., Art and Meaning, 11. He further notes that for source criticism, "the law of diminishing returns has been operating here for a longer time than we care to admit" (13). This article was originally published in Semitics 4 (1974), 22-36.

36 Ibid., 14. The "new rhetoric" has a greater interest in "linguistics, critical theory and semantics" (3).

37 Howard, 88. "Muilenburg and most of his followers have not paid attention to the suasive or oral aspects of the biblical literature in the way that rhetoricians focus on these" (102).

Gitay writes, "Muilenburg's approach is an expression of stylistic-formalist awareness rather than a systematic study of early Hebrew rhetoric, the biblical art of persuasion" (Yehoshua Gitay, "Rhetorical Criticism," in To Each Its Own Meaning: An Introduction to Biblical Criticisms and Their Application (ed. Steven L. McKenzie and Stephen R. Haynes; Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1993), 136).

The situation is similar in NT studies (Watson and Hauser, 101).

38 Howard, 90. Tull groups them all in the same field when she writes, "Studies of the stylistic, aesthetic features of biblical texts proliferated very rapidly and came to be known variously as literary criticism, narrative criticism, poetics, and, especially among followers of Muilenburg, rhetorical criticism" (159). Here, she equates Muilenburg-style rhetorical criticism with a study of style and aesthetics. Some rhetorical critics deny that Muilenburg and his followers focused on style to the neglect of function, but when I look at the results, I see primarily style, and apparently so do many other observers.

Lundbom writes, "Compared with the rhetorical criticism practiced in the universities, however, the Muilenburg program appears somewhat narrow.... [It is] perceived by many as being little more than an exercise in textual description" (xxviii).

Dozeman writes that OT rhetorical criticism moved from its origin in form criticism, where it served as a focus on the particularities of a text, to "under the umbrella of literary criticism" (ABD 5:714). If it is to be distinct from literary criticism, it must include persuasion as well as stylistics.

39 Dozeman, 715. Note that he characterized previous studies as stylistics.

40 Watson and Hauser, 106. Trible notes: "Though Perelman is often cited with the first name Chaim...Olbrechts-Tyteca remains hidden through the capital letter `L,' rather than revealed through the first name Luci [sic]" (Trible, 56, n. 3). Trible does this herself on p. 55. The Library of Congress catalogues Olbrechts-Tyteca's works under the name Lucie (e.g. online Feb. 21, 2000, http://catalog.loc.gov/cgi-bin/Pwebrecon.cgi?v3=1&ti=1,1&CallBrowse=1&PID=18435).

41 Trible, 55-56. The new rhetoric of Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca also led to an increased interest in the audience, the sociological situation, and the way that language is used sociologically.

42 Lundbom, xxiii-xxiv, italics in the original. The audience can also include subsequent audiences. As Patrick and Scult note, we do not always know when a text was written. Nevertheless, "these texts have remained profoundly persuasive for over 2000 years.... The Biblical texts achieved canonical status...because they were persuasive enough to be heard as speaking truths beyond their own time and place" (45-46, 25).

43 Kennedy, 12.

44 Howard, 92. He is historically inaccurate but prescriptively on target.

45 Howard, 103.

46 Ibid.

47 Benjamin Fiore, "Rhetoric and Rhetorical Criticism: NT Rhetoric and Rhetorical Criticism," ABD 5:718.

48 Tull, 160.

49 Some critics deny the possibility or the desire of probing an author's intent or purpose, and may find it more desirable to focus on the probable results in the audience. But it seems to me just as problematic to probe the thoughts of the audience as it is to probe the thoughts of the writer.

50 Gene M. Tucker, "Editor's Foreword" in Trible, Rhetorical Criticism, vii. I would argue, contra Tucker, that rhetoric focused on composition is the more narrow definition, since composition must be included when anyone studies the means of persuasion. Black calls the Muilenburg program "too narrow" (254), as does Lundbom (xxviii).

51 Trible, 32. She lists these scholars who have an interest in persuasion: Barton, Clifford, Clines, Fox, Gitay, Patrick and Scult, and Wuellner. Several, she notes, have virtually abandoned Muilenburg's approach. She comments this about Patrick and Scult: "The switch from his interest in authorial intent to theirs in reader response; from his line by line, even word by word, analysis to their more general study of a text; from his accent on structure and style to theirs on persuasion—these and other features suggest that as they `moved beyond,' so they moved away. They composed a different model of rhetorical criticism" (47, italics added).

52 I. Kikawada, "Some Proposals for the Definition of Rhetorical Criticism," Semitics 5 (1977) 67, cited in Michael V. Fox, "The Rhetoric of Ezekiel's Vision of the Valley of the Bones," HUCA 51 (1980) 1, note 1.

53 Fox, 1 n. 1. Suasion or persuasion fits quite naturally into "what the text says." The question is, What is the text trying to do to the reader, and how does it do it? How do the structure, the choice of words, and the literary devices work together to help the text persuade the readers about the past, present, or future?

54 Ibid., 2.

55 Ibid., 2, n. 4.

56 Ibid., 3.

57 Herbert Wichelns, "Some Differences between Literary Criticism and Rhetorical Criticism," in Historical Studies of Rhetoric and Rhetoricians (ed. Raymond F. Howes; Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1961), 209, cited in Lundbom, xxii. Lundbom says that "Wichelns was after a speech's persuasive quality.... the key term is really audience, and by audience Wichelns meant the original audience, not the subsequent reader" (ibid.).

58 Patrick and Scult, 8, 12.

59 Watson and Hauser, 4. This definition does not include the intent of the author, but it is historically rooted by insisting on a comparative analysis of ancient texts, and a concern for the original audience.

60 "In distinction from methods that bracket historical setting, this form of rhetorical criticism draws attention to the contexts in which texts arose and were read" (Tull, 161). "Methods that bracket historical setting" could include literary criticism as well as rhetorical criticism that focuses on stylistics.

61 Fox gives four excellent reasons that literary and historical approaches should not be segregated—see Michael V. Fox, "On Reading Redaction," in idem, The Redaction of the Books of Esther (Atlanta: Scholars, 1991), 144-146.

62 Kennedy, 4. Kennedy also includes the author's intent, but some theorists say that such is not possible.

63 Duane F. Watson, "Rhetorical Criticism: New Testament," DBI 2:400.

Kennedy also distinguishes literary criticism from rhetorical criticism in that the latter seeks the intent of the biblical writer and the effect on the original audience: "My goal...is the more historical one of reading the Bible as it would be read by an early Christian" (5).

64 Yehoshua Gitay, "Rhetorical Criticism and the Prophetic Discourse," in Persuasive Artistry: Studies in New Testament Rhetoric in Honor of George A. Kennedy (ed. Duane F. Watson; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1991), 14. Gitay applied Kennedy's approach to OT studies.

65 Gitay, "Rhetorical Criticism," in McKenzie and Haynes, 136.

66 I am indebted to Tull, 163, for this observation. She notes the importance of intertextuality, of exploring the interconnections among texts, including the way that previous texts affect the nuances of a word. She credits Mikhail Bakhtin for pointing out that a reader may protest against a text, bring additional insights to it, call other texts to mind, and have additional influences other than the text. The reader is active, not the passive receptor of a monologue (167).

67 Fox, 4-5.

68 Ibid., 9-10.

69 Ibid., 13, 9.

70 Ibid., 11.

71 Ibid., 15.

72 As Allen notes, Fox "has played down the value of formal structural analysis, in a desire to focus on the persuasive force of discourse and thus to align Old Testament rhetorical criticism with the extra-biblical discipline" (Leslie C. Allen, "Structure, Tradition and Redaction in Ezekiel's Death Valley Vision," in Among the Prophets: Language, Image and Structure in the Prophetic Writings (ed. Philip R. Davies and David J. Clines; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic, 1993), 128.

73 Fox, 1. Fox noted that the original listeners could not appreciate all the literary details, anyway—but Allen rightly notes that "in is present form Ezek. 37.1-14 functions as a literary text, which permits rereading and so appreciation of fine points" (Allen, in Davies and Clines, Among the Prophets, 128). Thus the text has both rhetorical and literary features that are worthy of study. Allen analyzes the structure of this text, noting a "double movement from a negative orientation to a positive one in the vision report" (ibid., 142).

Kennedy notes that in antiquity, the Bible was more often heard than read, and that it was written and edited with that in mind, thus it retained an oral quality as well as a literary quality (5, 37).

74 Lundbom notes that Muilenburg often identified literary emphases and shifts by "literary sensitivity." "The charge then sometimes made about there being too much subjectivity in Muilenburg's method is not entirely groundless. Muilenburg believed that subjectivity was required to do the job." A result, Lundbom says, is that "much current rhetorical criticism of the Bible" is simply "random and subjective reflections producing little or no yield" (xxxii). Lundbom then offers numerous methodological suggestions that can verify or refute the subjective impressions (xxxiii-xlii). Trible also offers useful practical guidelines (101-106). She notes that "subjectivity characterizes all biblical methods.... Methods do not produce `objective' findings" (231).

75 Leslie C. Allen, "Psalm 73: An Analysis," TynBul 33 (1982) 105.

76 Ibid., 107.

77 Normally, an author should not call attention to how clever she is, since the reader may disagree.

78 Trible, 83. Some of her claims about the rhetorical effect of devices in Jonah are also dubious. E.g., "Tucked between cosmic descriptions of Yhwh, the report `I (am) fearing' obscures Jonah's culpability" (141).

79 Quoted by Trible, 106.

80 Duane F. Watson, "Rhetorical Criticism: New Testament," DBI 2:400; also Watson and Hauser, 109. Trible lists five perspectives for rhetoric: the traditional focus on persuasion, the sociological perspective, the experiential, the dramaturgical, and the postmodern (58-60). She categorizes scholars as representative of these five perspectives, respectively, Gitay, Lundbom, Patrick and Scult, Craven, and Clines.

I believe that the last three "methods" are so poorly defined that they do not offer much hope for reproducible results. For similar reasons, I do not see much use for structuralism, reader-response criticism, or deconstruction (65-72). As Black says, "In most of these studies, the interpretive tactics and exegetical implications have not yet come completely into focus" (256).

81 Wuellner, 451.

82 Watson and Hauser, 107.

83 Trible, 52.

84 Tull praises Meir Sternberg (a narrative critic) for his "literary virtuosity in [his] intricate assessment of the aims and effects of narrative details" (162). Note that a narrative text can have a persuasive intent.

85 Some literary devices may be exclusively aesthetic, but such a conclusion should be reached only after extensive effort to understand how they might contribute to the argument itself. Even the aesthetics of a passage are often shaped to help achieve the author's purpose.

86 Gitay, "Rhetorical Criticism," 146.

87 Kennedy, 33-38. Wuellner paraphrases these steps in his article (455-58), as does Black (254-55), Fiore (717), and Watson and Hauser (110-111). Roth (398) has the same steps, citing Wuellner but not Kennedy.

Watson and Hauser give a more detailed description of how one goes about these steps (9-14).

88 Black, 255. Kennedy has been instrumental not only in method, but also in championing the interest in persuasion. Black does point out some problems in Kennedy's proposals, as I will note a little later.

89 Lundbom, xxxiv.

90 Tull, 168.

91 Kennedy, 34-36.

92 Watson and Hauser, 115.

93 Vernon K. Robbins, Exploring the Texture of Texts: A Guide to Socio-Rhetorical Interpretation (Valley Forge, Penn.: Trinity Press International, 1996), 1. Robbins notes that "no interpreter ever uses all of the resources of any method in an interpretation," but encourages readers to consider "the capacities of the text to support social reform, withdrawal or opposition and to evoke cultural perceptions of dominance, subordinance, difference, or exclusion...the ways in which people advance their own interests" (2-4).

Black traces Robbins' sociological interest through Burke back to Perelman, who had an interest "in the function of language as a symbolic means of inducing social cohesion among human beings" (256).

94 Wuellner, 454.

95 Kennedy, 37.

96 Watson, DBI 2:400. See Watson and Hauser 120, 124 for a discussion of whether Paul would have studied rhetoric.

97 Watson and Hauser, 111, italics added. They note, "The methodology as currently practiced does need to broaden its primary source base" (112).

98 Black, 255.

99 Watson and Hauser, 112.

100 Black, 257, 255.

101 Watson and Hauser, 112.

102 Kennedy, 10-11.

103 I have forgotten where I obtained this fact.

104 "There are only functional parallels between epistolary and rhetorical arrangement.... Rhetorical handbooks themselves may not have discussed epistolary theory because they are dominated by the concerns of judicial rhetoric which was rarely appropriate for letter writing" (Watson and Hauser, 122-23).

105 On the way that narratives may go about persuasion, see Patrick and Scult, chapters 2-4 (29-78).

106 "There is a distinctive rhetoric of religion. It can be found in many cultures, East and West, and at the heart of it lies authoritative proclamation, not rational persuasion. Those who accept religious teachings generally do so because of their perception of certain qualities in the person who utters them and because of their intuitive response to the message. Absolute demands, deliberate rejection of worldly reason, sometimes paradoxes or even obscurity, become a persuasive factor in the enunciation of a new religious message" (Kennedy, 6).

107 Kennedy, 30-31, 33. Watson and Hauser question this latter sentence in particular (111), and so does Black (257). I would say that if a genre can be identified, it is very helpful, but it is not always possible to identify, and therefore not essential to ascertaining how a text is attempting to persuade an audience. Note also that Kennedy, trained in the classics, does not expect everything to be poured into a classical mold.

108 (C. J. Classen, St. Paul's Epistles and Ancient Greek and Roman Rhetoric" (unpublished paper presented at the Conference on Rhetorical Criticism of Biblical Documents, Heidelberg, Germany, July 1992) 3, cited in Watson and Hauser, 112-13, n. 66).

109 Dozeman, ABD 5:714. He calls these scholars, perhaps inaccurately, the "Muilenburg School."

110 Lauri Thurén, Rhetorical Strategy of 1 Peter with Special Regard to Ambiguous Expressions (Åbo, Finland: Åbo Academy, 1990), 55, quoted in Watson and Hauser, 114. It is necessary to focus on the text when the author is not known, or when the text is the only window that we have into the author's thinking. In such cases, "the author" is merely a cipher for "inferred author." This is not any more confusing than implying that ink on parchment has an intent of its own.

111 Trible, 96-97.

112 Paul R. Noble, The Canonical Approach: A Critical Reconstruction of the Hermeneutics of Brevard S. Childs (Leiden: Brill, 1995), 239. E.D. Hirsch has been a noted defender of authorial intent, but Noble observes that "over the years Hirsch has become increasingly isolated, and in `Meaning and Significance Reinterpreted' (Critical Inquiry 2 (1986), 627-30) he substantially modifies his original position" (190, n. 9).

113 Ibid., 369.

114 Muilenburg, "Isaiah 40-66," IB 5:475, 477, 505, 528, 553, 567, 583, 659, and many other places.

Similar examples can be seen in other rhetorical-critical work, such as when Allen argues that "earlier material has clearly been re-used within a later composition" (Psalms 101-150, 207). Although Psalm 132 contains earlier material, we cannot reconstruct the argument of that earlier material, for the psalmist has selected only the parts congenial to his purpose. Whatever the original meaning was, it has been put into a new context. "Polan...demonstrates a coherence in Trito-Isaiah that heretofore has eluded many interpreters" (Black, 254).

115 Muilenburg occasionally argues that a passage is a gloss or is in the wrong place (e.g., IB 5:518, 561, 564, 576, etc.). Patrick and Scult analyze the rhetorical contribution of P and J material in Genesis 1-3 (103-25).

116 Trible, 118-119. "Though accepting the logic of the argument for transposition, this interpretation holds fast to the final form of the text. It maintains that 4:5 fits a tendency throughout the story to delay information" (206). She strives to understand it the way it is. She claims the delay "strengthens the rhetoric through surprise" (222), but she offers so substantiating evidence. She claims that it "requires the reader to reread" (ibid.), but does not comment on whether this might render the message of the book inacessible to most people.

117 Ibid., 161. This ideological commitment may even be counterproductive, for if a rhetorical critic ever argues for unity, others may suspect that the conclusion has been determined by the ideology, not the analysis.

118 Fox, 144-46.

119 Wuellner, 461.

120 Kennedy, 159.

121 Wuellner, 461.

122 "By providing knowledge of how a text was composed in order to be persuasive in its own period, rhetorical criticism enables the interpreter to understand better how a text functioned in its historical context and...to express the message of a text so that it can be persuasive to its contemporary audience" (Watson, ISBE 4:182).