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1 and 2 Thessalonians: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary

, 2006
ISBN: 9780802828361
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Paul’s two letters to the Thessalonians stand as some of the very earliest Christian documents, yet they appear well into Paul’s missionary career, giving them a unique context well worth exploring. Witherington provides a reading of Paul’s text in the light of rhetorical concerns and patterns, early Jewish theology, and the first-century historical situation in Macedonia. He details Thessalonica’s place as the “metropolis” of Macedonia and carefully unpacks the social situation of Paul and his recipients. Scholars will appreciate the careful analysis and rhetorical insights contained here, while Witherington’s clear prose and sensitivity to Paul’s ideas make this work ideal for all who desire a useful, readable commentary on 1 and 2 Thessalonians.

Praise for the Print Edition

Students of the New Testament have come to expect from Ben Witherington not only unfathomable productivity but also serious scholarly work that is unfailingly informed and insightful. Witherington’s socio-rhetorical treatment of 1 and 2 Thessalonians reinforces and even heightens these expectations. Witherington sheds much light on these early Pauline letters by paying particular attention to their rhetorical features and socio-historical milieu. All the while, he is aware of and alive to the theological and pastoral dimensions of 1 and 2 Thessalonians. As I seek to understand these fascinating documents more fully, I will keep this significant commentary close to hand. Those who are seeking a clear, thorough, and creative reading of Paul’s Thessalonian correspondence would do well to do the same.

—Todd D. Still, Truett Theological Seminary, Baylor University

Ben Witherington is a master at crafting commonsense commentaries that are accessible to a broad spectrum of readers and conversant with the best of scholarship. In this regard his 1 and 2 Thessalonians does not disappoint. It is one of his best.

—Bruce W. Longenecker, University of St. Andrews, Scotland

Product Details

  • Title: 1 and 2 Thessalonians: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary
  • Author: Ben Witherington III
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2006
  • Pages: 301

About Ben Witherington III

Ben Witherington III is Professor of New Testament Interpretation at Asbury Theological Seminary, Wilmore, Kentucky. He received his M.Div. degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. from the University of Durham in England. He is now considered one of the top evangelical scholars in the world, and is an elected member of the prestigious SNTS, a society dedicated to New Testament studies. A prolific writer, he has twice won the Christianity Today best Biblical Studies book-of-the-year award. Among his other books are The Christology of Jesus and Jesus, Paul, and the End of the World and The Jesus Quest. A popular lecturer, Witherington has presented seminars for churches, colleges and biblical meetings not only in the United States but also in England, Estonia, Russia, Europe, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Australia.

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Top Highlights

“Nevertheless, the fact that only 2% of the inscriptions found in the city are in Latin is telling. Even in the Roman period this remained largely a Greek city.” (Pages 1–2)

“This is a progress-oriented letter of encouragement, not a problem-solving letter, unlike 1 Corinthians or 2 Thessalonians.” (Pages 21–22)

“The geographer Strabo was to call the city the ‘metropolis’ of all Macedonia (Geography 7, fragment 21), not least because within its walls it had a population of perhaps as much as 65,000 to 80,000. Those living just outside the walls brought that number to about 100,000.20 This was a city that in many ways suited Paul’s urban strategy for spreading faith in Jesus.21 It was a city full of artisans, manual laborers, sailors, and orators.” (Page 4)

“This word refers, then, to the actions of the greeting committee as it goes forth from the city to escort the royal person or dignitary into the city for his official visit. ‘These analogies (especially in association with the term parousia) suggest the possibility that the Lord is pictured here as escorted the remainder of the journey to earth by his people—both those newly raised from the dead and those remaining alive.’” (Page 138)

“Paul is a pastor speaking from his heart in these letters in a cogent, compelling, and rhetorically effective way. He is writing in such a way that the content of the document can be orally delivered in a house church worship setting. The failure to consider the social and religious context in which the Thessalonians would have heard this material is a significant one.” (Page 17)

  • Title: 1 and 2 Thessalonians: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary
  • Author: Ben Witherington III
  • Series: Socio-Rhetorical Commentary Series
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Print Publication Date: 2006
  • Logos Release Date: 2008
  • Era: era:contemporary
  • Language: English
  • Resources: 1
  • Format: Digital › Logos Research Edition
  • Subjects: Bible. N.T. 1 Thessalonians › Commentaries; Bible. N.T. 1 Thessalonians › Criticism, interpretation, etc; Bible. N.T. 1 Thessalonians › Socio-rhetorical criticism; Bible. N.T. 2 Thessalonians › Commentaries; Bible. N.T. 2 Thessalonians › Criticism, interpretation, etc; Bible. N.T. 2 Thessalonians › Socio-rhetorical criticism
  • ISBNs: 9780802828361, 0802828361
  • Resource ID: LLS:SORHET73TH1
  • Resource Type: Bible Commentary
  • Metadata Last Updated: 2022-09-30T03:04:52Z
Ben Witherington III

Ben Witherington III (PhD, University of Durham) is Jean R. Amos Professor of New Testament for Doctoral Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary. A prominent evangelical scholar, he is also on the doctoral faculty at St. Andrews University in Scotland. Witherington has written over forty books, including The Jesus Quest and The Paul Quest, both of which were selected as top biblical studies works by Christianity Today. His other works include The Indelible Image, Women and the Genesis of ChristianityThe Gospel CodeA Week in the Life of Corinth and commentaries on the entire New Testament. He also writes for many church and scholarly publications and is a frequent contributor to Patheos and Beliefnet. Witherington is an elected member of the prestigious Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas, a society dedicated to New Testament studies. He is a John Wesley Fellow for Life, a research fellow at Cambridge University and a member of numerous professional organizations, including the Society of Biblical Literature, Society for the Study of the New Testament and the Institute for Biblical Research. He previously taught at institutions like Ashland Theological Seminary, Vanderbilt University, Duke Divinity School and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. An ordained pastor in the United Methodist Church and a popular lecturer, Witherington has presented seminars for churches, colleges and biblical meetings around the world. He has led numerous study tours through the lands of the Bible and is known for bringing the text to life through incisive historical and cultural analysis. Along with many interviews on radio and television networks across the country, Witherington has been seen in programs such as 60 Minutes, 20/20, Dateline and the Peter Jennings ABC special Jesus and Paul—The Word and the Witness


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  1. Hwang Jun Chul
  2. Ricardo de Paula Meneghelli


Digital list price: $26.99
Save $6.00 (22%)