Vernon K. Robbins

Sociorhetorical Interpretation

Emory Studies in Early Christianity

Rhetoric of Religious Antiquity


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Emory Department of Religion

Emory Graduate Division of Religion

Biography  |  Books  |  Essays  |  Emory Studies in Early Christianity  |  Curriculum Vitae

Vernon K. Robbins is Professor Emeritus of Religion-Winship Distinguished Research Professor in the Humanities, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. In 1984, his Jesus the Teacher launched socio-rhetorical criticism in New Testament studies. His books The Tapestry of Early Christian Discourse (1996) and Exploring the Texture of Texts (1996) present this approach in the form of programmatic strategies for interpreting the inner texture, intertexture, social and cultural texture, ideological texture, and sacred texture of texts. A Festschrift in his honor, Fabrics of Discourse (2004 []), contains essays that apply insights of socio-rhetorical interpretation. The Invention of Christian Discourse (2009) and Sea Voyages and Beyond present work in the first decade of the 21st century. Who Do People Say I Am? (2013) and Jesus and Mary Reimagined in Early Christian Literature (2015) show how first through third century Christianity negotiated the humanity and divinity of Jesus in narrative portrayals. Two recently edited volumes, Foundations for Sociorhetorical Exploration (2016) and The Art of Visual Exegesis (2017), present programmatic essays for interpretation of early Christian texts in the context of the Rhetoric of Religious Antiquity.

Vernon K. Robbins is described in Genealogies of New Testament Rhetorical Criticism (2015) as one of "five pioneers" of New Testament rhetorical criticism.

In 1983-84, Prof. Robbins was a Fulbright Professor at the University of Trondheim, Norway. During the summer of 1996, he was a Human Research Science Council Visiting Scholar in South Africa. Prof. Robbins is co-editor of Emory Studies in Early Christianity (SBL Press; Bloomsbury) and the Rhetoric of Religious Antiquity series.