Ancient Letters and the New Testament: A Guide to Context and Exegesis

By Hans-Josef Klauck; Daniel P. Bailey | Go to book overview

Preface

“I think I should understand that better,” Alice said very politely, “if I
had it written down: but I can’t quite follow it as you say it.”

– Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland, chap. 9

Picking up on an incomplete ancient definition that requires some supplementation, we have grown accustomed to regarding a letter as “half of a dialogue” or as a continuation of a conversation by other means. Recently we have also learned to understand the letter as a speech or sermon, which has been put down in writing only of necessity under the pressure of circumstances. But does the inalienable writtenness of a letter not also have its positive side? The same written form that forces the author to more intense reflection also provides the addressee with opportunities for unhurried reading and interpretive rereading. Just as in Alice’s experience, some things that pass us by when we only hear them become easier to understand when we have them before our eyes in writing.

Not only in their main theme but also in their genesis, the following reflections are inextricably bound up in the dialectical relationship of hearing and reading, lecturing, conversing, writing and—hopefully—being read. They have grown out of courses and seminars designed to provide an introduction to the New Testament letters and their ancient literary environment. I can only hope that some spark of the excitement that was not infrequently experienced by those who worked together with me on these materials also comes across to the reader.

-vii-

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Ancient Letters and the New Testament: A Guide to Context and Exegesis
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Abbreviations ix
  • General Bibliographies xix
  • List of Bibliographies xxix
  • List of Exercises xxxiii
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Foundations—Two Letters of Apion and Two Letters of the [Elder] 9
  • 2 - Practical Realities— Paper and Postal Systems 43
  • 3 - Nonliterary and Diplomatic Correspondence 67
  • 4 - Poetry and Philosophy—Literary Letters 103
  • 5 - Epistolary and Rhetorical Theory 183
  • 6 - Letters in Early Judaism 229
  • 7 - New Testament Letters I: Overview 299
  • 8 - New Testament Letters Ii: Selected Texts 355
  • Epilogue 435
  • Answer Key 445
  • Index of Ancient Sources 471
  • Index of Authors 481
  • Index of Subjects 495
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