Reading Notes #2
Reading Notes: Swearingen, Kelber, Wire, and Stowers
In the article “The Tongues of Men” by Dr. C. Jan Swearingen, the main topic is Paul’s
letters to the Romans and 1 Corinthians.
The article focuses on the rhetorical devices used and
how they pertained to the understanding of the letters.
The letters contain “lexicon, rhetorical
genre, and implied audience” (Swearingen 232) in order to capture Paul’s audience and
efficiently get his point across.
Instead of trying to group his audience all into one, Paul allows
them to be in their own groups, emphasizing that unity and love can still exist even if the group
Paul’s methods were so detrimental, that they are still used today.
and ministers shift their sermons from their own voice to biblical quotation with a flowing shift,
much like Paul did.
In the letters to the Romans, law is one of the main concerns.
emphasized the “illegal and immoral use of language and speech” (Swearingen 237).
reason for this was so that the Romans could stop their civil fighting and become one under
Christ and share the love and wisdom of the Gospel.
In 1Corinthians the message is one of love
Also mentioned within 1Corinthians is; wisdom, foolishness, earthly and
heavenly treasures, the gifts of the spirit, love and language.
Love and speech are connected
through a series of positive and negative definitions.
Women are mentioned in terms of
marriage, modesty, obedience, and hierarchy with God being the head of man and man being the
head of his wife.
The basis of Paul’s arguments is that if you speak, even if it is beautifully,
without genuine love then they are simply empty words.
The article “Orality and Texuality in Paul” by Werner Kelber, emphasizes on Paul’s
preference and use of oral speech in a means to get his message across.
By using oral speech,
Paul encompasses his emotions and personal experiences into his message, giving it a stronger
meaning and engaging the audience more.
Paul believes in hearing rather than seeing.
Gospel usually accompanies nouns that denote the act of the oral word; spoken, preached,
announced, and proclaimed.
The spoken word takes on more of a genuine spiritual meaning,
giving it life in the ears of the audience.
The drawback to this is that the oral speech cannot be
separated from the speaker, so at any moment the speaker can lose loyalty of the crowd by
offending them with his/her own opinion.
In this article it is mentioned that Paul had a bitter
sweet relationship to the written law and how it was interpreted. Paul believes the idea of the
Law is a good one but, it is “written” by many instead of one true God, thus it cannot be genuine
Paul believes that when people learn about the law, this gives them the motivation to
disobey it, similar to Adam and Eve’s consciousness that they are naked in Genesis.