Vernon K. Robbins

Sociorhetorical Interpretation

Emory Studies in Early Christianity

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1 Peter 2:3: Recontextualization

The General Epistles

Recontextualization, in contrast to recitation, presents wording from biblical texts without mentioning that the words 'stand written' anywhere else. This covers a spectrum from extended word for word replication of a biblical text to the poignant use of a word, phrase or clause from scripture in a new context. 1 Peter 2.3 is a good example of recontextualization of a line from scripture:

Like newborn babes, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation; for you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.

This verse of Petrine discourse puts words from Psalm 34.8 in a new context without telling the reader that the words stand in scripture. The words in the Psalm are: 'Taste and see that the Lord is kind'. 1 Peter omits the 'seeing' from the line, making it a statement about 'tasting' that focuses on basic attitudes and actions of kindness which the discourse considers to be the 'spiritual milk' that will nurture a person into salvation.


From: Vernon K. Robbins (1996) The Tapestry of Early Christian Discourse: Rhetoric, Society and Ideology, London: Routledge: 107.

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