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"Remember My Fetters": Memorialisation Of Paul's Imprisonment

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Chapter Summary

In three of the pseudo-Pauline letters, namely Colossians, Ephesians and 2 Timothy, "Paul" writes as someone who is imprisoned and in chains. The penultimate statement in what is probably the earliest of them, Colossians, indicates that this is not just an incidental feature but bears upon how these texts should be interpreted: "Remember my fetters". This chapter reviews the relevant data in Colossians, Ephesians and 2 Timothy, pointing especially to the themes of imprisonment and memory in these texts. It offers a brief explanation of how social identity theory and the largely sociological notions of collective memory assist us to understand this material. The chapter then sets out some cognitive-scientific perspectives on memory, especially autobiographical memory, and applies these perspectives to the three texts. Finally, it reviews what we have learned from this exercise and what avenues for future enquiry it has opened up.

Keywords: 2 Timothy; autobiographical memory; Colossians; Ephesians; Paul's imprisonment; pseudo-Pauline letters; social identity theory



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