Performance Criticism of the Pauline Letters
Imprint: Cascade Books
"Bernhard Oestreich makes a compelling case for the importance of performance criticism. His careful account of the discipline's history culminates with the delineation of a methodology that makes performance criticism a tool that other interpreters will be able to use. His application of the method to Pauline texts demonstrates its importance for a full reading of those letters. The new insights and perspectives he unearths through attention to Paul's strategies and the role of the audience in the reception of letters makes this a method that all interpreters need if they are to give these texts a full historical-critical reading. Oestreich has formulated a powerful methodology in the search to hear Paul's letters as the first recipients heard them. All who are engaged in that task will need to give attention to this method and this book."
--Jerry L. Sumney, Professor of Biblical Studies, Lexington Theological Seminary; author of Paul, Apostle and Fellow Traveler (2014)
"This is a masterful work that combines a comprehensive survey of the theoretical foundations of performance criticism with detailed analysis of Paul's major letters. Its distinctive contribution is the identification of the interactions between the performers and audiences of Paul's letters and the interactions between the groups in conflict within those audiences in response to Paul's impassioned pleas for reconciliation and separation. Reading this is like you are there."
--Thomas E. Boomershine, United Theological Seminary, Dayton, Ohio
"Bernhard Oestreich reminds us that early Christian writings were designed to be experienced by the ear. He presents a rigorous scholarly argument for why it is that not only the gospel stories but also the letters of Paul are better understood as a script for a performance than a text that should be quietly read by individuals."
--David Trobisch, Museum of the Bible, Washington, DC