Circular Rhetoric and Logic of Paradox: Computational Approach

Circular rhetoric (e.g., idem per idem) has been one of the most ignored, confused, misunderstood, and controversial areas in contemporary biblical scholarship for the latter half of the 20th century. Recently there has been a renewed interest due to a new approach by Min with many groundbreaking results in biblical exegesis and hermeneutics, dealing with circular rhetoric and logic of paradox. The paper proposes and explores a new critical method and paradigm toward circular rhetoric and logic of paradox in the Bible. A brief survey of the selected examples is presented with the analysis to discover and classify some major patterns of circular rhetoric and logic of paradox. The selected examples in this paper include three paradoxes in Matthew 22:15–46, the Liar paradox in Titus 1:12, the divine "I am" sayings in Exodus 3:14, the circular indwelling relationships in John 14:10–11, two proof-methods in John 8:12–20, the difficult passage of 1 John 3:9, the theological framework of Salvation History with the two-stage coming of the Kingdom of God ("already" and "not yet" in Luke 17:20–30), the testimony of John the Baptist about the coming Christ (John 1:15, 30), and the priesthood of Christ in Hebrews 7, and the examples in Romans. The approach of this paper is distinctively computational on the basis of a sound biblical and exegetical ground, exploring various semantics and interpretive models, including common-sense, modal and nonmonotonic reasoning. Further the paper explores the basis and scope of the Bible as a rich repository and a framework dealing with many interesting and critical topics in computational disciplines such as computer science (e.g., formal languages and automata, concepts in programming languages, computational logic, artificial intelligence, data and text mining, cybersecurity, and communication). The scope and goals of this paper are rather modest, and to bring renewed interest and understanding, with the hope of advancing in the twenty-first century the related works in the Bible towards global education and research technology.