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Durham e-Theses
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Seeing Emotionally: An Investigation of the Role of Emotion in
the Rhetorical Discourse of 1 Peter

HOCKEY, KATHERINE,MAY (2016) Seeing Emotionally: An Investigation of the Role of Emotion in
the Rhetorical Discourse of 1 Peter.
Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



This thesis is an investigation of the role of emotion in the rhetorical discourse of 1 Peter. It argues that taking a more theoretically and historically informed approach
to emotions in a New Testament epistle, in this case 1 Peter, can open up new avenues for discussion, provide corrective tools, and aid us in our interpretation and understanding of an ancient text. Emotions have hitherto generally been neglected in New Testament studies, and so this thesis provides the first full-scale attempt to analyse the rhetorical use of emotions in a New Testament epistle. It demonstrates that the author of 1 Peter uses the logic of each emotion to value and position objects within the audience’s worldview, including the self and the
other. Cumulatively, the emotions are used by the author to build an alternate view of reality. For the believers, this leads to a new understanding of the structuring of their world, encourages a reassessment of personal goals, and it ultimately aims to affect their identity and behaviour.

The introduction details previous work on emotions in New Testament studies and 1 Peter. Then, using developments in modern emotion theory, it proceeds to establish the theoretical foundations and methodological approach of the
investigation. The thesis then continues in three parts. Part 1 (chapters 2-3) focuses on ‘Emotions in Antiquity.’ Parts 2-3 (chapters 4-7) are exegetical, focusing on the ‘Present Experience’ and ‘Future Expectation’ of the audience respectively.

Part 1 demonstrates that there is a close fit between ancient theories and recent developments in emotion studies and thus proves that the exploratory approach of this thesis is not anachronistic. Chapter 2 details Stoic philosophical theory of emotion and chapter 3 the rhetorical use of emotion. These both work at the level of a general theory of emotion.

Parts 2-3, firstly, using primarily Stoic theory, define each emotion and thus identify the core characteristics of each emotion. Secondly, they seek to understand the contextualisation of emotion and accompanying rationale in both Stoicism and the LXX. Thirdly, using these insights, the use of emotions in 1 Peter is then explored comparatively. Chapters 4-5 investigate joy (χαρά) and distress (λύπη), with chapter 4 focusing on joy despite distress and chapter 5 examining joy in suffering. Chapter
6 looks at fear (φόβος) and hope (ἐλπίς); chapter 7 investigates shame (αἰσχύνη). In each of the exegetical chapters, the exegetical discussion is directed by key
questions about emotions which were highlighted by modern emotion theory. The answers to these questions reveal which objects are being evaluated and how, and,therefore, what the author is communicating to the believers about the object and their own positioning in relation to it. The ethical, sociological, and therapeutic implications of this for the believers are then explored.

The conclusion pulls together the findings of the exegetical chapters into a composite picture. It concludes that, consistently, the author promotes allegiance to God and Christ, fosters emotional distancing from the hostile other, and engenders a positive assessment of the Christian self. Figures of power within the audience’s worldview are repositioned and their relationship to essential goods is
reinterpreted. This seeks to alter the audience’s goals and subsequent behaviour so that a Christian ethic is promoted and the believers are encouraged that they are on the path to flourishing. This aims to produce confidence in the believer, and reduce the inner turmoil created by persecution. Finally, the implications of these findings for our understanding of 1 Peter’s rhetorical and social strategy are explained.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Theology and Religion, Department of
Thesis Date:2016
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:26 May 2016 15:32

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