Book Announcement: Dvorak and Dawson (eds), “The Epistle of James: Linguistic Exegesis of an Early Christian Letter”

9781498224581The first book in the Linguistic Exegesis of the New Testament (LENT) series has been recently out: James D. Dvorak and Zachary K. Dawson (eds.), The Epistle of James: Linguistic Exegesis of an Early Christian Letter (LENT 1; Eugene, OR: Pickwick, 2019).

The book contains a number of essays that address critical issues in Jamesian study utilizing Systemic Functional Linguistics as an exegetical tool. The description of the book states: “This volume is unique in that it provides a theoretically consistent and unified approach to a single New Testament book, which makes the whole volume useful for researchers and students of James. Each essay makes its own creative use of this linguistic perspective to engage important critical questions and to pave new ground for Jacobean scholarship based on linguistic analysis. Various topics in this volume include the textual structure and cohesion of the letter, intertextuality, rhetorical strategies, ideological struggle, interpersonal relations, and other topics related to the letter’s social context and language use.”

I always find looking at the table of contents helpful, so here it is:

  1. Introduction – James D. Dvorak and Zachary K. Dawson
  2. Mapping the Text: How Discourse Analysis Helps Reveal the Way through James – Cynthia Long Westfall
  3. Cohesion in James: A Response to Martin Dibelius – Stanley E. Porter
  4. Torah Observance without Faith: The Interlocutor of James 2:18 as a Critic of Jesus-Faith – Christopher D. Land
  5. Minding the Gap: Linking the Thematic Relationship between Δίψυχος (Jas 1:8 and 4:8) and the Shema (Deut 6:4-5) through Hos 10:2 – Ji Hoe Kim
  6. An Analysis of James 2:14-26 with Special Reference to the Intertextual Reading of Abraham and Rahab – Xiaxia E. Xue
  7. The Rules of “Engagement”: Assessing the Function of the Diatribe in James 2:14-26 Using Critical Discourse Analysis – Zachary K. Dawson
  8. Ask and Ye Shall Position the Readers: James’s Use of Questions to (Re-)Align His Readers – James D. Dvorak
  9. Brothers, Sisters–Adulteresses! Establishing and Maintaining Tenor Relations in James – Benjamin B. Hunt
  10. Ἰακώβου Contra Mundum: Anti-Language and the Epistle of James – Jonathan M. Watt
  11. Conclusion: Linguistic Exegesis of the Epistle of James with Reference to Exegetical Commentary Writing – Zachary K. Dawson and James D. Dvorak

There are a lot of interesting and thought-provoking essays in these letters–they actually all are–and they do not all use the same resources within SFL for their analyses but use a diversity of resources within SFL to make this book very useful and engaging, not only for biblical linguistics but Jamesian study. At the price point of $32, there is no excuse not to have it in your library.

— David I. Yoon


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