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Literary Aspects Of Paraenesis: Indicators Of Moral Exhortation From The Greco-Roman World Within Valentinianism

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Chapter Summary

Despite the diversity of opinion on the definition of paraenesis, there has been a general understanding in scholarship as to the various stock literary aspects of paraenesis. This chapter presents some of those literary aspects that typify ancient paraenesis. Specifically, it addresses imperatives, moral exempla, virtue/vice lists, and the two-way schema. In order to contextualize these elements, the author begins by presenting them within the broader Greco-Roman context, then within a more narrow early Christian context, and finally within the precise context of the Valentinian sources within which we find paraenetic material. This procedure helps to locate not only paraenesis as a generic category within a culturally confined historical setting, but also allows establishing the presence of paraenesis within Valentinianism in a brief survey.

Keywords: Greco-Roman world; Paraenesis; two-way schema; Valentinianism



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