Laurie Norris, Ph.D. 2011

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Laurie Norris

Recipient of the Eugene and Margaret Logan Fellowship

Special Instructor of Pastoral Ministry 
Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, IL

My dissertation, "The Function of New Testament Warning Passages: A Speech Act Theory Approach," supervised by Dr. Douglas J. Moo, attempts to explore  the function of prospectively oriented New Testament warning passages through the lens of speech act theory as a constructive tool for illuminating often neglected dimensions of meaning in terms of illocutionary force and perlocutionary effect.  My approach in this study was three-pronged: (1) to establish a rationale for the relevance of speech act theory in the exegesis of New Testament warnings; (2) to consider general rhetorical backgrounds, in particular, Old Testament covenantal rhetoric with its inherent tensions beetween unconditional promise and contingency, the paradigmatic tensions of John 14:15-15:17, and the potential influence of honor-shame rhetoric; and (3) to offer exegetical analysis of three representative New Testament warnings: Col 1:21-23; Rom 11:17-24; and 1 Pet 1:5-11.  A traditional exegessis was supplemented by insights from speech act theory that help to elucidate more clearly the illocutionary force and performative function of these texts. 

I am profoundly grateful for my doctoral mentor, Dr. Douglas Moo. He kindly pushed me when necessary, yet also allowed me to own the process in a way that was true to myself.  His utmost humility and integrity in scholarship, both in his ongoing pursuit of truth and in his gracious dialogue, are truly a model to emulate.

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