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

Choose another definition:

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Or texture:

opening-middle-closing texture: A subtexture of inner texture, opening-middle-closing texture resides in the nature of the beginning, body, and conclusion of a section of discourse. Repetition, progression, and narration regularly work together to create the initial, middle, and final units of text. For a particular span of narrative text, interpreters often have different views concerning the exact place where the opening ends, where the middle begins and ends, and where the conclusion begins and ends. Often interpreters refine and improve their analysis when they see parts of a complex pattern they did not see in their initial analysis. They may, however, identify phenomena that support a different view of units in the narrative than another interpreter. This kind of variation shows how complex opening-middle-closing texture may be. The opening itself may have a beginning, middle, and ending. In addition, the middle may be subdivided in this way, and also the conclusion. Variations may occur because there are different kinds of openings, different kinds of middles, and different kinds of closings. In other words, openings, middles, and closings may have very different kinds of texture. Click here for examples.

opposite: an argumentative device that presents the contradiction of a thesis. Thus, both the thesis and its opposite cannot be true. An opposite contrasts with a contrary, which is an alternative that can be true at the same time but is not satisfactory in the same context.

oral culture: a culture where nothing but "oral texts" exist. Communication is done solely with the spoken word. This differs from rhetorical culture where oral speech and written text continually interact with one another.

oral expansion: occurs in recitation (except when one replicates exact words of another written text) where the writer is not concerned with the exact wording in the actual written account, but instead is free to add to and expand the account for his or her own purposes. Oral expansion is typical in a rhetorical culture.

oral-scribal intertexture: A subtexture of intertexture, it involves a text's use of any other text outside of itself, whether it is an inscription, a Greek poet, non-canonical apocalyptic material, or the Hebrew Bible. One of the ways a text configures and reconfigures is to use, either explicitly or without reference, language from other texts. There are five basic ways in which language in a text uses language that exists in another text: recitation, recontextualization, reconfiguration, narrative amplification, and thematic elaboration. Click here for examples.

oral text: is one that is not actually a written text. The "text" is spoken orally and heard aurally, rather than being written and read visually. Oral texts are found in oral cultures (which differ from rhetorical cultures), and are very fluid. They can easily be changed (unlike written texts) as they are told and retold.

oral transmission: the telling and retelling of stories verbally, rather than passing them on through written texts. Often times NT writers recited only words from the OT that were easily transmitted (spoken and remembered) in an oral environment.

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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.