As is the case with the Gospel of Jesus and the ministry he calls all believers to, ideological texture analysis is primarily focused on people. Text takes a back seat to people and becomes the secondary subject of analysis in the family of socio-rhetorical criticism. (Robbins, 1996, p.95) Ideological texture analysis is the fourth step in the five-step process of socio-rhetorical criticism and steps away from focusing on the language and the setting to focus on the writer and the reader. It is the writer and the reader of a text who become the focus of analysis and how their biases, backgrounds, and mindsets interact with the text. According to Green, ideological texture “examines the bias, opinions, and preferences of the writer” (Green, 2010, p. 2) as well as the reader seeking how these biases and opinions and preferences affect the analysis of scripture. It is through the use of ideological texture that answers to modern questions can be ascertained from textual clues. (Huizing, 2011, p.15)
Within ideological texture analysis, there are four different layers to be considered. Robbins begins with Individual Locations, starting with the reader. The second layer is Relation to Groups, which is an understanding of different types of groups and their interaction. Borrowing from Jeremy Boissevain, the groups Robbins uses are cliques, gangs, action set, faction, corporate group, historic tradition, and multiple historic traditions throughout the world.
The third layer is modes of intellectual discourse, which considers the different perspectives on given issues and competing ideologies, or competing views of the same ideology. The fourth layer understands the spheres of ideology concerning the discourse of people.
How can ideological texture analysis be made usable for the average lay person in a congregation with a desire to study scripture?
Green, D. D. (2010). The Apostle John’s spiritual foresight: Interpretation through the exegesis of Revelation. Bible Theology, (4).
Huizing, R. L. (2011). What was Paul thinking? An Ideological Study of 1 Timothy 2. Journal of Biblical Perspectives in Leadership, Volume 3(Number 2), p.p. 91–98.
Robbins, V. K. (1996). Exploring the texture of texts: a guide to socio-rhetorical interpretation. Valley Forge, Pa: Trinity Press International.