This commentary series is established on the presupposition that the theological character of the New Testament documents calls for exegesis that is sensitive to theological themes as well as to the details of the historical, linguistic, and textual context. Such thorough exegetical work lies at the heart of these volumes, which contain detailed verse-by-verse commentary preceded by general comments on each section and subsection of the text.
An important aim of the NIGTC authors is to interact with the wealth of significant New Testament research published in recent articles and monographs. In this connection the authors make their own scholarly contributions to the ongoing study of the biblical text.
The text on which these commentaries are based is the UBS Greek New Testament, edited by Kurt Aland and others. While engaging the major questions of text and interpretation at a scholarly level, the authors keep in mind the needs of the beginning student of Greek as well as the pastor or layperson who may have studied the language at some time but does not now use it on a regular basis.
The letters of Paul to the newly founded Christian community at Thessalonica hold a special place within the Christian tradition as possibly the earliest extant Christian writings. They are also of special interest not only for their theological value but for their sociological context. Among the communities established by Paul, the church at Thessalonica appears to have been the only one to have suffered serious external oppression. These two important epistles, then, speak uniquely to contemporary Christians living in a society often ideologically, if not politically, opposed to Christian faith.
In this innovative commentary Charles A. Wanamaker incorporates what may he called a social science approach to the study of 1 and 2 Thessalonians, taking into full account the social context that gave rise to Paul's correspondence. While Wanamaker in no way ignores traditional historical-critical, linguistic, literary, and theological approaches to writing a commentary—in fact, at several points he makes a significant contribution to the questions raised by traditional exegesis—at the same time he goes beyond previous commentaries on the Thessalonian correspondence by taking seriously the social dimensions both of Christianity at Thessalonica and of the texts of 1 and 2 Thessalonians themselves. In blending traditional exegetical methods with this newer approach, Wanamaker seeks to understand Pauline Christianity at Thessalonica as a socio-religious movement in the first-century Greco-Roman world and attempts to grasp the social character and functions of Paul's letters within this context.
A significant and original addition to the literature on 1 and 2 Thessalonians, this commentary will be valuable to scholars, pastors, and students alike.
“Paul was sure of his readers’ election because of the results achieved by the gospel preaching that he and his fellow missionaries had done.” (Page 78)
“As a result of this strategic position Thessalonica was the largest and most important city of Macedonia in Roman times and served as the Roman provincial administrative center during those periods when Macedonia was a separate province, as it was at the time of Paul’s mission to Thessalonica.” (Page 3)
“Lohfink has shown that in the OT and Jewish apocalyptic literature those who are assumed (i.e., taken up into heaven) are always alive, and in fact it is axiomatic that those who are dead cannot be assumed into heaven. From this Plevnik concludes that the issue at Thessalonica was not whether dead Christians would share in the resurrection but the fear that they would be disadvantaged by not being able to participate in the assumption to heaven.” (Page 166)
“From the time of the OT the clouds of the heavens were associated with theophanies (cf. Ex. 16:10; 19:16), and in such texts as Is. 19:1 and the vision of Ezk. 1:4–28 a cloud becomes the celestial vehicle of God.” (Page 175)
“For this reason it is better to understand the participle as temporal. The Thessalonians’ imitation of Paul and the Lord consisted in their experience of great distress accompanied by the ‘joy of the Holy Spirit’ at the time of their conversion.” (Page 81)
This volume should find a secure place on the shelves of Pauline scholars, particularly those concerned about all-too-neglected Thessalonian studies...Readers, whether ministerial or professional, will find their reading of 1 and 2 Thessalonians greatly enhanced.
—Journal of Biblical Literature
Unique in its approach...Wanamaker has written a commentary worthy of consideration. His ground-breaking methodology will be a topic of debate for some time to come.
C. A. Wanamaker's valuable exegesis of the Greek text offers a breakthrough by incorporating insights from rhetorical criticism...Wanamaker offers a novel, if unconvincing, case for reading our 2 Thessalonians as Paul's first letter to the church; his exegesis is particularly valuable for those who can handle Greek.
—Biblical Studies Bulletin, Vol 15, Michael B. Thompson
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