Wilhelm Wuellner is the father of rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. Wuellner has contributed to the field in four key ways. First, he has emphasized that at no time in the history of rhetoric was rhetoric a unified or monolithic field. Second, he attributes the demise of rhetoric in the nineteenth century to the rise of Romanticism and its connection with irrationalism, as well as the profound technological shift in the media of communication with the advent of the print culture and the loss of the living word. Third, he emphasizes the counter-cultural nature of Jewish and Christian rhetoric. Finally, he has focused on the ever-present relationship between hermeneutics and rhetorics. The contributors to this collection of essays-first presented at a Claremont conference honoring Wuellner's work-discuss the ways that Wuellner has influenced the field and their own work. The list of contributors is a who's who of rhetorical scholars ranging from Vernon Robbins and Tom Olbricht to Whitney Shiner and Greg Carey. Wuellner himself contributes a new essay on the rhetoric of religion and the rhetoric of power.
Together the essays provide not only a fitting tribute to the continuing influence of Wuellner and his work but also original studies of various New Testament texts read through the eyes of rhetorical criticism. Since Wuellner is well-known outside of New Testament circles, this collection will also appeal to classical rhetoricians.
Review in International Review of Biblical Studies, Vol 51: 2004/05