Dallas Theological Seminary
It is agreed that both context and Greek studies are essential components of the exegetical process. This article explores the function of language itself within society. The focus is not on the typical “meaning” of language as an information carrier but rather on the meaning that the use of particular linguistic elements brings to the communication situation. In other words, I will consider language itself as a social phenomenon. In order to achieve this goal, using Acts 21:27–40 as a test case, I will first consider selective elements of the social and historical context that when understood will contribute to recreating the context of the passage (cognitive environment). Then, with this contextual information activated in the exegetical process, I will consider the social impact of this information on two recorded speech incidents from Acts 21:27–40 resulting in a better understanding of the passage. This will demonstrate that in addition to the informational linguistic meaning, an understanding of the social use of language itself is a valuable tool for understanding the biblical text.
Keywords: Acts 21:27–40, exegesis, sociolinguistics, pragmatics, New Testament backgrounds, New Testament contexts, cognitive environment, Greek, relevance theory
Geneva College, Beaver Falls, PA, USA
A sociolinguistic approach to Paul’s language usage in the Jerusalem arrest narratives of Acts 21–22 offers inferences with regard to his specific language choices between Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic during his interactions. However, modern language studies show considerable inter-language penetration that, by implication, complicate conclusions one may reach with regard to the NT situation.
Keywords: sociolinguistics, multilingualism, linguistic repertoire, code-switching, cross-linguistic penetration
Sociolinguistics and New Testament Exegesis: Three Approaches to Discourse Analysis Using Acts 21:27—22:5 (Paul’s Arrest in the Temple) as a Test Case
McMaster Divinity College, Hamilton, ON, Canada
This article discusses three distinct types of discourse analysis models—Social Identity Theory and Communication Accommodation Theory (CAT), Conversation Analysis (CA), and SFL Register Analysis—and applies them individually to the text in Acts 21:27—22:5 to examine various aspects and elements that comprise the context of situation of the incident of Paul’s arrest in the temple. The main objective is to showcase the relevance and utility of sociolinguistic theories in New Testament exegesis.
Keywords: Acts 21:27—22:5, sociolinguistics, exegesis, discourse analysis, social identity theory, speech or communication accommodation theory, conversation analysis, register analysis
Oklahoma Christian University, Edmond, OK, USA
This article approaches the topic of persuasion from a social perspective rather than rhetorical or socio-rhetorical. This is because, at heart, persuasion—of others or of self—is ultimately a social action in which values are negotiated. Dvorak argues that to analyze the persuasiveness of a discourse requires a sociolinguistic model, and the model that is best suited for the job is Appraisal Theory, which is built upon the theoretical foundation of Systemic Functional Linguistics.
Keywords: persuasion, appraisal, evaluation, 1 Corinthians, values, power, discourse analysis