The Epistle to the Thessalonians: A Commentary on the Greek Text

The Epistle to the Thessalonians: A Commentary on the Greek Text

The Epistle to the Thessalonians: A Commentary on the Greek Text

The Epistle to the Thessalonians: A Commentary on the Greek Text

Synopsis

The letters of Paul to the newly founded Christian community at Thessalonica hold a special place within the Christian tradition as possibly the earliest extant Christian writings. They are also of special interest not only for their theological value but for their sociological context. Among the communities established by Paul, the church at Thessalonica appears to have been the only one to have suffered serious external oppression. These two important epistles, then, speak uniquely to contemporary Christians living in a society often ideologically, if not politically, opposed to Christian faith.

In this innovative commentary Charles A. Wanamaker incorporates what may be called a social science approach to the study of 1 and 2 Thessalonians, taking into full account the social context that gave rise to Paul's correspondence. While Wanamaker in no way ignores traditional historical-critical, linguistic, literary, and theological approaches to writing a commentary -- in fact, at several points he makes a significant contribution to the questions raised by traditional exegesis -- at the same time he goes beyond previous commentaries on the Thessalonian correspondence by taking seriously the social dimensions both of Christianity at Thessalonica and of the texts of 1 and 2 Thessalonians themselves. In blending traditional exegetical methods with this newer approach, Wanamaker seeks to understand Pauline Christianity at Thessalonica as a socio-religious movement in the first-century Greco-Roman world and attempts to grasp the social character and functions of Paul's letters within this context.

A significant and original addition to the literature on 1 and 2 Thessalonians, this commentary will be valuable to scholars, pastors, and students alike.

Excerpt

While there have been many series of commentaries on the English text of the New Testament in recent years, it is a long time since any attempt has been made to cater particularly to the needs of students of the Greek text. It is true that at the present time there is something of a decline in the study of Greek in many traditional theological institutions, but there has been a welcome growth in the study of the New Testament in its original language in the new evangelical schools, especially in North America and the Third World. It is hoped that The New International Greek Testament Commentary will demonstrate the value of studying the Greek New Testament and help toward the revival of such study.

The purpose of the series is to cater to the needs of students who want something less technical than a full-scale critical commentary. At the same time, the commentaries are intended to interact with modern scholarship and to make their own scholarly contribution to the study of the New Testament. There has been a wealth of detailed study of the New Testament in articles and monographs in recent years, and the series is meant to harvest the results of this research in a more easily accessible form. the commentaries will thus include adequate, but not exhaustive, bibliographies. They will attempt to treat all important problems of history, exegesis, and interpretation that may arise.

One of the gains of recent scholarship has been the recognition of the primarily theological character of the books of the New Testament. This series will, therefore, attempt to provide a theological understanding of the text, based on historical-critical-linguistic exegesis. It will not, however, attempt to apply and expound the text for modern readers, although it is hoped that the exegesis will give some indication of the way in which the text should be expounded.

Within the limits set by the use of the English language, the series aims to be international in character; the contributors, however, have been chosen not primarily in order to achieve a spread between different countries but above all because of their specialized qualifications for their particular tasks. This publication is a joint venture of the Paternoster Press, Exeter, England, and Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, usa.

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