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Paul the Ancient Letter Writer: An Introduction to Epistolary Analysis

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This clear and user-friendly introduction to the interpretive method called “epistolary analysis” shows how focusing on the form and function of Paul’s letters yields valuable insights into the apostle’s purpose and meaning. The author helps readers interpret Paul’s letters properly by paying close attention to the apostle’s use of ancient letter-writing conventions. Paul is an extremely skilled letter writer who deliberately adapts or expands traditional epistolary forms so that his persuasive purposes are enhanced. This is an ideal supplemental textbook for courses on Paul or the New Testament. It contains numerous analyses of key Pauline texts, including a final chapter analyzing the apostle’s Letter to Philemon as a “test case” to demonstrate the benefits of this interpretive approach.

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  • Devotes itself to examining each of the major sections of Paul’s letters (the opening, the thanksgiving, the body, the closing) and their diverse epistolary conventions
  • Identifies the form and function of the various stereotyped formulas and literary devices that occur in Paul’s letters
  • Engages in an epistolary analysis of Paul’s Letter to Philemon as a concluding test case
  • Introduction
  • The Opening
  • The Thanksgiving
  • The Body
  • The Closing
  • Epistolary Analysis in Practice: The Test Case of Philemon
Weima’s masterful study sets before readers the benefits of paying close attention to the structure of Paul’s letters. The chapters investigate standard features as well as changes in the regular patterns in the opening, thanksgiving, body, and closing sections of Paul’s epistles. Weima writes with great clarity and deep insight, laying out the ways in which close attention to these epistolary features can enrich and enlarge our understanding of these letters. This work will benefit scholars, students, and general readers alike with the clear presentation of ideas and the helpful application of those concepts to real examples from Paul’s letters--an outstanding book from a seasoned and much-respected scholar.

Paul Foster, professor of New Testament and early Christianity, Head of the School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh

This comprehensive study of the method and literary analysis of the epistles is a valuable resource for both the beginning student of exegesis and the experienced practitioner. Weima brings together both the history of research and decades of his own work, moving beyond the identification of ancient literary conventions to demonstrate the ways in which Paul has shaped them for his own purposes. The book is unparalleled among current books on epistolography."

James W. Thompson, Graduate School of Theology, Abilene Christian University

Weima’s work on Paul as the writer of letters is an essential resource for anyone who studies the Pauline Epistles. The author is clearly a master teacher because the book is marked by an unusual clarity and organization. Weima clearly explains various literary conventions that are used, but best of all he gives ample examples to illustrate the different conventions. I learned much from this book and recommend it gladly to students, pastors, and scholars.

Thomas R. Schreiner, James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

  • Title: Paul the Ancient Letter Writer: An Introduction to Epistolary Analysis
  • Author: Jeffrey A.D. Weima
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Print Publication Date: 2016
  • Pages: 288
  • Language: English
  • Resources: 1
  • Format: Digital › Logos Reader Edition
  • Resource Type: Monograph
  • Metadata Last Updated: 2021-04-29T21:19:37Z

In the Logos Reader Edition, this volume is enhanced to best fit the content. Scripture references are hand-tagged to integrate with powerful functionality in Logos Bible Software. Page milestones and internal citation tagging provide accurate points of reference. Search important words across resources to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive tools for reading digital content are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

Jeffrey A.D. Weima

Jeffrey A.D. Weima is professor of New Testament at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he has taught for more than 20 years. He is the author of Neglected Endings: The Significance of the Pauline Letter Closings and the coauthor (with Stanley Porter) of An Annotated Bibliography of 1 and 2 Thessalonians. He has taught courses all over the world, has authored numerous scholarly articles, and leads biblical study tours to Greece, Turkey, and Italy.


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    Digital list price: $28.00
    Save $4.01 (14%)

    Gathering interest