Laurie Norris, Ph.D. 2011
Recipient of the Eugene and Margaret Logan Fellowship
Assistant Professor 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 between 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 exegesis 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.