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Holman Bible Dictionary
Paul, spoke of “the debater of this age” (1 Corinthians 1:20 NRSV). Paul disclaimed “lofty words” and claimed to be “untrained in speech” ( 1 Corinthians 2:1; 2 Corinthians 11:6 NRSV) but elsewhere compared his preaching to a skilled builder laying a foundation ( 1 Corinthians 3:10 ) and spoke of destroying arguments and obstacles to knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:5 ). Acts often presents Paul as a persuasive speaker (Acts 18:4 ,Acts 18:4,18:13 : Acts 19:26; Acts 26:28-29 ). Festus, in fact, recognized Paul as a man of great learning from his speech (Acts 26:24 ). Acts also portrays Apollos as an eloquent speaker (Acts 18:24 ).
The Greeks classified oratory into three modes. 1. The judicial mode, the speech of the law court, concerns guilt and innocence. Examples of judicial rhetoric include the cases involving Paul which were brought before Gallio, Felix, and Festus (Acts 18:12-16; Acts 24:1-21; Acts 25:15 ,Acts 25:15,25:18-19; Acts 26:1-29 ). 2 . The deliberative mode is concerned with the expediency of a course of future action. Examples include the Sanhedrin's debate over Jesus' growing following which culminated in Caiaphas' suggestion that the expedient course was to seek Jesus' death (John 11:47-50 ) and Demetrius' discourse on what action was necessary to save the business of the silversmiths in Ephesus (Acts 19:23-27 ). 3 . The epideictic mode concerns praise and blame. Examples include Paul's praise of love (1 Corinthians 13:1 ) and his censure of the Galatians (Galatians 1:6-9; Galatians 3:1-5 ). Broadly speaking, this mode includes any exhortation to virtuous action (as in James). See Rhetoric .
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Oration, Orator'. Holman Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hbd/o/oration-orator.html. 1991.