The Letters to Philemon, the Colossians, and the Ephesians: A Socio-rhetorical Commentary on the Captivity Epistles

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2007-11-26
  • Publisher: Eerdmans Pub Co
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This volume completes Ben Witherington??'s own contributions to the Eerdmans socio-rhetorical series of commentaries on the New Testament. Besides the usual features of this series, Witherington offers an innovative way of looking at Colossians, Ephesians, and Philemon as inter-related documents written at different levels of moral discourse. Colossians is first order moral discourse (the opening gambit), Ephesians is second order moral discourse (what one says next after the opening salvo to the same audience), and Philemon is third order moral discourse (what one says to a personal friend or intimate). Witherington successfully analyzes these documents as examples of Asiatic rhetoric, explaining the difference in style from earlier Pauline documents. He further shows that Paul is deliberately engaging in the transformation of existing social institutions. As always, Witherington??'s work is scholarly and engaging, and will be welcome on any shelf.

Author Biography

Ben Witherington III is professor of New Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary, Wilmore, Kentucky, and is a member of the doctoral faculty at St. Andrews University, Scotland

Table of Contents

Abbreviationsp. xi
Introductionp. 1
Differences in Rhetorical Stylep. 4
The Different Rhetorical Situationsp. 10
Other Stylistic Objections to the Pauline Character of Ephesians and Colossiansp. 11
Epistolary and Rhetorical Structuresp. 19
The Social Settings of Paul and of His Audiencesp. 21
An Annotated Bibliographyp. 37
The Letter to Philemonp. 51
The Epistolary Prescript - vv. 1-3p. 53
Thanksgiving/Exordium - A Refresher Course - vv. 4-7p. 57
A Closer Look: When Rhetoric Is Not Mere Rhetoricp. 62
An Appeal for a Useful Servant - vv. 8-16p. 65
A Closer Look: Paul in Chains, Onesimus in Bondagep. 68
Peroratio - Summing Up and Touching the Heart of the Matter - vv. 17-22p. 82
A Closer Look: The Cost of Manumissionp. 87
Epistolary Conclusion - vv. 23-24p. 91
Bridging the Horizons - Philemonp. 93
The Letter to the Colossiansp. 99
The Authorship of Colossiansp. 100
Further Thoughts on the Relationship of Colossians and Ephesiansp. 103
The False Teaching/Philosophy in Colossaep. 107
The Theology of Colossiansp. 111
The Occasion of Colossiansp. 113
Epistolary Prescript - 1.1-2p. 115
Exordium/Thanksgiving Prayer - 1.3-14p. 118
Narratio - The Pattern of Christ - 1.15-20p. 128
A Closer Look: The Formation of the Christ Hymnp. 130
Propositio/Partitio - 1.21-23p. 137
Probatio - Argument One - Minister of the Mystery - 1.24-2.5p. 142
Probatio - Argument Two - The Bone of Contention - 2.6-3.4p. 151
A Closer Look: The Colossian "Philosophy"p. 164
A Closer Look: The Theological Substance of Colossiansp. 168
Probatio - Argument Three - The Necessity of Virtue - 3.5-4.1p. 174
Vice and Virtue Lists - 3:5-17p. 175
The Household Code - 3:18-4:1p. 181
A Closer Look: Evaluating the Household Codes Fairly in Paul's Contextp. 183
A Closer Look: Paul on Marriage and Slavery in Contextp. 188
Peroratio - Prayer and Wisdom - 4.2-6p. 197
Epistolary Closing - 4:7-18p. 201
Bridging the Horizons - Colossiansp. 208
The Homily Called Ephesiansp. 215
Homilies in the New Testament Erap. 215
Ephesians as a Letter to Ephesus?p. 217
Epideictic Rhetoric: The Art of Persuasive Sermon-Makingp. 219
Pseudonymity?p. 223
Epistolary Prescript - 1.1-2p. 225
Exordium - A Blessing of a Eulogy - 1.3-14p. 227
A Closer Look: For Heaven's Sakep. 232
Thanksgiving Prayer/Captatio Benevolentiae - 1.15-23p. 238
A Closer Look: The Ethos of Community in Ephesiansp. 247
Narratio - Gentiles Then and Now and Their Apostle - 2.1-22; 3.2-13p. 250
Concluding Prayer and Doxology - 3.1, 14-21p. 270
Exhortatio - Reminder of Community Values and Virtues - 4.1-6.9p. 279
The Formation of a More Perfect Union - 4.1-16p. 283
A Closer Look: What Goes Up Must Come Down - Pneumatic Exegesisp. 288
New Creatures - 4-17-24; Putting Off and Putting On - 4.25-32p. 293
The Imitation of God, the Image of Holiness - 5.1-21p. 302
Christians in the House - 5.21-6.9p. 313
A Closer Look: The Christian Household Code Revisitedp. 319
Peroratio - Standing notwithstanding the Opposition - 6.10-20p. 344
Epistolary Postscript - The End of the Matter - 6.21-24p. 356
Bridging the Horizons - Ephesiansp. 359
Index of Authorsp. 366
Index of Scripture and Other Ancient Writingsp. 370
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