Letters and Homilies for Hellenized Christians: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on Titus, 1-2 Timothy and 1-3 John

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9780830824571: Letters and Homilies for Hellenized Christians: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on Titus, 1-2 Timothy and 1-3 John

The study of the so-called General or Catholic Epistles has been hampered, argues Ben Witherington, by the failure to properly discern their genre. Several of these "letters" are much better understood as homilies--although, like the rest of the New Testament, they are situation specific. In this first of three volumes, Witherington extends his innovative socio-rhetorical analysis of New Testament books to the latter-Pauline and non-Pauline corpora, placing each text within its socioreligious milieu and illuminating the particular issues that confronted each congregation as well as the rhetorical strategies employed by each author in addressing those issues. Throughout, Witherington shows his thorough knowledge of recent literature on these texts and focuses his attention on the unique insights brought about through socio-rhetorical analysis that either reinforce or correct those gleaned from other approaches. Strikingly, based on his rhetorical analysis of the Pastorals, he makes the case for Luke as Paul's amanuensis for these letters. He also makes a strenuous argument against New Testament pseudepigrapha. "Bridging the Horizons" sections point to the relevance of the text for believers today, making this volume of special value to pastors and general readers as well as to students and scholars.

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About the Author:

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 Christianity, The Gospel Code, A 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.

Review:

". . . this commentary provides solid interpretation of these letters in a very readable style. It is accessible and profitable to the layperson and scholar alike. . . . well worth the investment of time and money." (Duane F. Watson, The Catholic Biblical Quarterly, 70, 2008)

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