Vernon K. Robbins

Sociorhetorical Interpretation

Emory Studies in Early Christianity

Rhetoric of Religious Antiquity

Religious Sites in Atlanta

Emory Department of Religion

Emory Graduate Division of Religion



Dictionary of Socio-Rhetorical Terms

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gang: A type of group in relation to groups, it is a leader-centered coalition whose members associate regularly on the basis of affection and common interest and possess a marked sense of common identity. In short, a gang is a large clique with a single leader (Boissevain 1974: 181).

gnostic-manipulationist: one of seven types of social rhetoric, or in terms of socio-rhetorical criticism a specific social topic, the gnostic-manipulationist response seeks only a transformed set of relationships-- a transformed method of coping with evil. Whereas the foregoing orientations reject the goals of society as well as the institutionalized means of attaining them and the existing facilities by which people might be saved, the gnostic-manipulationist rejects only the means and the facilities. Salvation is possible in the world and evil may be overcome if people learn the right means, improved techniques, to deal with their problems. Click here for examples.

groupculture rhetoric: Group culture rhetoric implies groups that do not involve more than one generation, which do not elaborate a set of institutions that allow the group to be relatively autonomous and self-sufficient, and which do not sustain an individual over an entire life span. Contraculture rhetoric, one of the final cultural categories that most decisively identify one's social location, is one example of groupculture rhetoric.

guilt culture: One of three cultures (others are honor culture and rights culture) which comprise a common social cultural topic, guilt (along with individualism) is a distinguishing feature of modern western culture and has influenced modern biblical scholarship through the anachronistic assumption that ancient Mediterranean society operated under this cultural value. Social-scientific criticism seeks to correct anachronism such as these-- in this case, scholars must recognize that ancient Mediterranean culture operated under group oriented, honor-shame values.

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Definitions based upon Vernon K. Robbins, Exploring the Texture of Texts, Valley Forge, PA: Trinity Press International, 1996 and Vernon K. Robbins, The Tapestry of Early Christianity: Rhetoric, Society, and Ideology, London and New York: Routledge, 1996.