Opening Paul's Letters: A Reader's Guide to Genre and Interpretation

Opening Paul's Letters: A Reader's Guide to Genre and Interpretation

by Patrick Gray


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It is sometimes easy to forget that the books of the Bible are not really "books" at all but individual documents composed in a wide array of literary genres. This clear, concise, and accessible text on the Pauline Letters orients beginning students to the genre in which Paul writes. The book compares and contrasts Paul's letters with ancient and modern letters, revealing the distinctive conventions, forms, and purposes of Paul's Epistles. It focuses on the literary genre of the letter in ancient Greece and Rome, providing an overview of subjects, strategies, and concerns of immediate relevance for readers who wish to understand Paul in his ancient context. Discussion questions and sidebars are included.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780801039225
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/01/2012
Pages: 192
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Patrick Gray (PhD, Emory University) is associate professor of religious studies at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee. He is the author of Godly Fear: The Epistle to the Hebrews and Greco-Roman Critiques of Superstition and the coeditor of several books, including Teaching the Bible: Practical Strategies for Classroom Instruction.

Table of Contents

1. Paul's Cultural Contexts
2. Letter Genres
3. How Paul Writes: Organizing a Letter and Making an Argument
4. Paul's Audiences
5. How Paul Reads the Old Testament
6. Pseudonymity: Did Paul Write Paul's Letters?
Epilogue: Beyond Paul
Appendix 1: Dating Paul's Letters
Appendix 2: Defining Authorship

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