Laurie Norris, Ph.D. 2011
Recipient of the Eugene and Margaret Logan Fellowship
Professor of Bible
Moody Theological Seminary
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.