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As O'Day begins, analysis of 'inner texture' stands in the forefront. But the essay does not start with 1 Corinthians. It begins with analysis of the antecedent text, Jeremiah 9.22-23, then moves to 1 Corinthians 1.26-31. The antecedent text takes precedence over 1 Corinthians, because it provides the material that Paul remolded. In contrast with a socio-rhetorical approach, then, the priority does not lie with the inner nature of the argument in 1 Corinthians but in authoritative biblical tradition that Paul has refashioned in a setting of crisis.
Socio-rhetorical criticism includes analysis and interpretation of oral-scribal intertexture. I begin with analysis of an essay by Gail O'Day that carries the subtitle 'A Study in Intertextuality' (). This essay vividly introduces both the arrival of the concept of intertextuality on the scene of New Testament studies and the limitations of intertextual studies that locate themselves in traditional theological and canonical criticism. O'Day's approach is inspired and informed by Michael Fishbane's 'inner biblical exegesis' (; , , ). In the first paragraph of her essay, O'Day defines intertextuality as 'the ways a new text is created from the metaphors, images, and symbolic world of an earlier text or tradition' (p. 259). She gets this definition from T. S. Eliot's essay on 'Tradition and the Individual Talent' (), and the focus of the definition is on the 'metaphors, images, and symbolic world' an author has used from an antecedent text to 'create' a new text. This is a definition that focuses on the author's 'production of the text'. O'Day is interested in Paul's creation of 1 Corinthians 1.26 out of words, structures and aspects she calls 'substantive theological parallels' that exist in Jeremiah 9.22-23.
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Remember the essays you had to write in high school?Topic sentence, introductory paragraph,supporting paragraphs, conclusion. The conclusion being,say, that Ahab in was a Christ-like figure.The other big difference between a real essay and the thingsthey make you write in school is that a real essay doesn'ttake a position and then defend it. That principle,like the idea that we ought to be writing about literature,turns out to be another intellectual hangover of longforgotten origins.With the result that writing is made to seem boring andpointless. Who cares about symbolism in Dickens?Dickens himself would be more interested in an essayabout color or baseball.Good writing should be convincing, certainly, but itshould be convincing because you got the right answers,not because you did a good job of arguing. When I give a draft of an essay to friends, there are two thingsI want to know: which parts bore them, and which seem unconvincing. The boring bits can usually be fixed by cutting. But I don't try to fix the unconvincing bits byarguing more cleverly. I need to talk the matter over.