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Ephesians 1–3 (Anchor Yale Bible Commentary | AYBC)

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Encompassing the body of Pauline theology, Ephesians has been called “the crown of St. Paul’s writings,” yet both its authorship and addressees are the subject of continuing dispute. Through line-by-line examination of its vocabulary, its difficult style, its Qumran and Gnostic affinities, its parallels with and distinctions from the undisputed Pauline corpus, its use of the Old Testament, and its dialogue with orthodox and heretical Judaism, Markus Barth demonstrates that Paul was almost certainly the author. And, after exploring previous explications of this hymnic and admonitory epistle in detail, he concludes that it was intended for gentile Christians converted after Paul’s visits to Ephesus.

On this basis, Barth reexamines the relationship between Israel and the church, discounting the thesis that Ephesians suggests an “early Catholic,” or high-ecclesiastic or sacramental doctrine. Instead, he finds in this letter a statement of the social reconciliation which conditions the salvation of the individual. And reevaluating the section describing the relation between husband and wife, he offers an alternative to the traditional notion that Paul degrades women or belittles their rights and their dignity.

Resource Experts
  • Offers original translations, including alternative translations, annotations, and variants
  • Provides verse-by-verse commentary on the text
  • Presents the reader with historical background, including analysis of authorship and dating
  • Features an extensive bibliography of primary and secondary literature
  • The Address (1:1–2)
  • The Full Blessing (1:3–14)
  • Intercession, a Praise of God (1:15–23)
  • Salvation by Resurrection (2:1–10)
  • Peace through the Cross (2:11–22)
  • Commitment by Revelation (3:1–13)
  • Prayer for Perfection (3:14–21)

Top Highlights

“The following thesis will be proposed for consideration: The apostle Paul himself wrote the epistle to the Ephesians from a prison in Rome toward the end of his life. Paul addresses not the whole church in Ephesus but only the members of Gentile origin, people whom he did not know personally and who had been converted and baptized after his final departure from that city. The strange diction occasionally found in Ephesians stems from hymns and other traditional materials that are quoted in this epistle much more frequently and extensively than in the earlier writings of Paul. Ephesians represents a development of Paul’s thought and a summary of his message which are prepared by his undisputed letters and contribute to their proper understanding.” (Pages 3–4)

“Equally, ‘ ‘peace’ is an emphatically social concept.’67 It is a gift of God affecting the totality of psychic, physical, personal, familial, economic, and political dimensions of man’s life. ‘Wholeness’ has been suggested as another translation.” (Page 74)

“More than eighty words not found in other Pauline letters occur in Ephesians. They are called hapax legomena. Four” (Page 4)

“But election for adoption finds its response in hearing, believing, hoping, loving, praising.” (Page 105)

“The peculiar substance of Ephesians required a specific style. Since a large part of the content is a public prayer to God, the diction of the epistle resembles that of contemporary Jewish and some pagan prayers and of the extant examples of the prayers of Paul. Thus, the vocabulary and style of Ephesians neither demonstrate nor preclude Pauline authorship.” (Page 6)

  • Title: Ephesians 1–3: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary on Chapters 1–3
  • Author: Markus Barth
  • Series: Anchor Yale Bible
  • Volume: 34
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Print Publication Date: 2008
  • Logos Release Date: 2009
  • Era: era:contemporary
  • Language: English
  • Resources: 1
  • Format: Digital › Logos Research Edition
  • Subject: Bible. N.T. Ephesians 1-3 › Commentaries
  • Resource ID: LLS:ANCHOR70AEPH
  • Resource Type: Bible Commentary
  • Metadata Last Updated: 2024-03-25T19:07:59Z

Markus Barth, the son of Karl Barth, held the New Testament chair at the University of Basel, Switzerland, until his death in July 1994. He is coauthor of The Letter to Philemon in the Eerdmans Critical Commentary Series (4 vols.).


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Print list price: $50.00
Save $5.01 (10%)