Chapter 5

2 Thessalonians 1: Prescript and proem—the eschatological retribution

1.1-2: THE PRESCRIPT

The prescript of 2 Thessalonians has, as we saw, been borrowed from 1 Thessalonians; the author of the second letter only added a possessive pronoun, so that ‘in God the Father’ became ‘in God our Father’, and he added at the end the words ‘from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ’. The former addition, a very simple one, concurs with the normal usage in both Thessalonian letters (1 Thess. 1.3; 3.11, 13; 2 Thess. 2.16). The latter addition constitutes an adaptation of the prescript of our letter to the standard form of the Pauline prescript (Rom. 1.7; 1 Cor. 1.3; 2 Cor. 1.2; Gal. 1.3; Eph. 1.2; Phil. 1.2; Philem. 3). If the author of 2 Thessalonians knew 1 Thessalonians, it is quite probable that he knew other letters of Paul as well.

At the beginning of 1.1, the names of the three senders are simply put beside one another, without any qualifications: ‘Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy’. It is clear in both letters that Paul is meant to be the principal one and the (real or fictitious) writer of the letter: his name is the first one in the prescript, and elsewhere in the two letters he appears as the sole author (1 Thess. 2.18; 3.5; 5.27; 2 Thess. 2.5; 3.17). Nevertheless, the first person plural is used very often in both letters; in 1 Thessalonians this may be considered, not as ‘an epistolary plural’, but as evidence of ‘an intimacy of association in writing’ (Frame 1912:68), and the author of 2 Thessalonians imitates this usage.

Silvanus is the Latinized form of Silas, and that name is the Aramaic variant of the Hebrew name Saul (which was also Paul’s own original Jewish name). According to Acts, Silas was one of the delegates of the Jerusalem church to communicate the decisions of

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2 Thessalonians
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Series Editor’s Preface vi
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Introduction 1
  • 2 - Thessalonians in English Translation 5
  • Part I 9
  • Chapter 1 11
  • Chapter 2 27
  • Chapter 3 44
  • Part 2 67
  • Chapter 4 69
  • Chapter 5 79
  • Chapter 6 96
  • Chapter 7 125
  • Conclusion - 2 Thessalonians and Paul 146
  • Bibliography 150
  • Index of Subjects 156
  • Index of References to Biblical and Other Ancient Literature 160
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