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Paul’s Rhetorical Efforts to Establish Good Will in First Thessalonians
University College Stockholm, Stockholm School of Theology, Department of Religious Studies and Theology. Åbo Akademi University, Finland.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2203-7977
2022 (English)In: Journal for the Study of the New Testament, ISSN 0142-064X, E-ISSN 1745-5294, Vol. 44, no 4, p. 539-560Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Sustainable development
SDG 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
Abstract [en]

Ancient oratory ordinarily begins with an effort of captatio benevolentiae – the rhetorical strategy of praising and lauding the audience to make them well-disposed toward the speaker, attentive and receptive to your message – especially before controversial claims or challenging demands. In First Thessalonians, such efforts are manifest not only in the introduction in ch. 1, but throughout the narration in chs. 2–3, which implies that the senders are preparing for a particularly sensitive topic. The first exhortation to appear after these efforts cease, the exhortation to sexual holiness in 1 Thess. 4.3-8, must therefore represent the primary purpose of the letter. The euphemistic language used in this request makes it difficult to understand what kind of πορνεία (‘sexual immorality’) Paul, Silvanus and Timothy are arguing against, but the most likely interpretation is that they want the Thessalonian Christians to stop using their slaves and former slaves for sexual purposes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2022. Vol. 44, no 4, p. 539-560
Keywords [en]
captatio benevolentiae, πορνεία, First Thessalonians, holiness, rhetoric, slavery, sex
National Category
Religious Studies
Research subject
Biblical Studies, New testament
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ths:diva-1581DOI: 10.1177/0142064x221087423OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ths-1581DiVA, id: diva2:1650450
Available from: 2022-04-07 Created: 2022-04-07 Last updated: 2023-10-11Bibliographically approved

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Berglund, Carl Johan

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