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Products>The Letters to Philemon, the Colossians, and the Ephesians: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on the Captivity Epistles (Socio-Rhetorical Commentary | SRC)

The Letters to Philemon, the Colossians, and the Ephesians: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on the Captivity Epistles (Socio-Rhetorical Commentary | SRC)

, 2007
ISBN: 9780802824882
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This volume completes Ben Witherington’s contributions to the set of Eerdmans socio-rhetorical commentaries on the New Testament. In addition to the usual features of these commentaries, Witherington offers an innovative way of looking at Colossians, Ephesians, and Philemon as interrelated documents written at different levels of moral discourse. In Philemon we see Paul using moral discourse in an intimate, personal setting. Colossians presents a vice/virtue list, along with a household code, while Ephesians focuses on community values. Witherington successfully analyzes these documents as examples of Asiatic rhetoric, explaining the differences in style from earlier Pauline documents. He further shows that Paul is deliberately engaging in the transformation of existing social institutions.

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Top Highlights

“Standing firm requires effort. It does not automatically happen. Effort must be made to equip oneself with these protective attributes, qualities, or resources.” (Page 349)

“It is far more plausible that he is dealing with some sort of ascetic Jewish piety.20” (Page 109)

“Ephesians seems to be addressed to a whole group of Christians in a particular area—namely Asia.8 We have no other such Pauline document.” (Page 218)

“In other words, if anything is the primary purpose of this code, it is to both ameliorate the harsher effects of patriarchy and to guide the head of the household into a new conception of his roles that Christianizes his conduct in various ways and so turns marriage into more of a partnership and household management more into a matter of actualizing biblical principles about love of neighbor and honoring others.” (Page 323)

“The Spirit has provided this unity, but believers are responsible for maintaining and fostering it” (Page 285)

A solid commentary, a sane introduction, and a superior integration of these letters historically and culturally. The Letters to Philemon, the Colossians, and the Ephesians is Witherington at his best. Anyone with questions about how these letters function and who wrote them would do well to start and finish here.

—Darrell Bock, Dallas Theological Seminary

Every time Ben Witherington writes a commentary, I buy it. Why? Because few can explain the rhetoric of a New Testament book as clearly as Ben, few can match the theological awareness of Ben, few canvass scholarship as completely as Ben, and fewer yet can combine rhetoric, theology, scholarship, and piety as well as Ben.

—Scot McKnight, North Park University

Ben Witherington’s rhetorical approach to the letters to Philemon, the Colossians, and the Ephesians sheds important new light on questions that have puzzled and divided interpreters for generations. Fresh and insightful throughout, this reader-friendly commentary strongly supports Pauline authorship by clarifying the distinctive features of these interesting letters and the various circumstances of their respective recipients. Highly recommended!

—Craig A. Evans, Acadia Divinity College

With a deeply pastoral heart and an equally deep mastery of historical-critical research into the first-century world, Ben Witherington offers a new commentary on Philemon, Colossians, and Ephesians. Readers will discover here the riches that historical scholarship offers to insight into the realities of faith. Whether tackling difficult topics such as Paul on slavery, or defending Pauline authorship of Ephesians, or applying Paul’s words to contemporary problems faced by Christians, Witherington consistently shows his love for Jesus Christ, whom he seeks to encounter in truth.

—Matthew Levering, Ave Maria University

  • Title: The Letters to Philemon, the Colossians, and the Ephesians: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on the Captivity Epistles
  • Author: Ben Witherington III
  • Series: Socio-Rhetorical Commentary Series
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Print Publication Date: 2007
  • Logos Release Date: 2008
  • Pages: 381
  • Era: era:contemporary
  • Language: English
  • Resources: 1
  • Format: Digital › Logos Research Edition
  • Subjects: Bible. N.T. Philemon › Commentaries; Bible. N.T. Philemon › Criticism, interpretation, etc; Bible. N.T. Philemon › Socio-rhetorical criticism; Bible. N.T. Colossians › Commentaries; Bible. N.T. Colossians › Criticism, interpretation, etc; Bible. N.T. Colossians › Socio-rhetorical criticism; Bible. N.T. Ephesians › Commentaries; Bible. N.T. Ephesians › Criticism, interpretation, etc; Bible. N.T. Ephesians › Socio-rhetorical criticism
  • ISBNs: 9780802824882, 0802824889
  • Resource ID: LLS:SORHET78PHM
  • Resource Type: Bible Commentary
  • Metadata Last Updated: 2023-02-20T23:04:28Z
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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Digital list price: $34.99
Save $7.00 (20%)