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Aural Design and Coherence in the Prologue of First John

Unlike literature in the modern western world, ancient documents were typically crafted for the ear rather than the eye. This new investigation of the structure of 1 John's Prologue analyzes the oral patterning and resulting soundscape reflected in this key New Testament passage. After discussing contemporary techniques of sound analysis and establishing the study's methodological approach, Brickle examines the Prologue's aural profile. Here we begin to explore, describe, and depict graphically the patterns of sound that emerge as the text is read aloud. Brickle uses the approaches to Greek pronunciation and orality advocated in the recent New Testament research to determine the impact on the Prologue's soundscape, followed by an analysis employing the principles for beautiful and effective composition elucidated by the ancient teacher of rhetoric, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, in his treatise, On Literary Composition. A final section draws together the results and implications of the study before suggesting further ways to apply research in orality, performance, and memory to the Prologue and other ancient texts.
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Table of Contents

1. Introduction 2. Seeing Sounds and Hearing Patterns 3. Seeing What We Can Hear 4. Hearing What We Cannot See 5. What We Have Seen and Heard

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The first sustained investigation of the oral patterning of 1 John 1:1-4, examining underlying design and organization.

About the Author

Jeffrey E. Brickle is Associate Professor of Biblical Studies at Urshan Graduate School of Theology in Florissant, Missouri


Brickle's monograph is a welcome addition to the burgeoning fields of orality, aurality, and performance criticism. Brickle himself concedes that aural patterning and sound mapping are not exegetical methodologies to be employed in and of themselves, but rather are tools the interpreter has to investigate the texts performative nature. In this way his systematic exploration of the text at the lexical level is an important advancement in the field. -- Nick Elder, The Iliff School of Theology, US * Theological Book Review *

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