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A Functional Letter Perspective: Towards A Grammar Of Epistolary Form

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Chapter Summary

One of the major recurring debates in discussion of the letters of the New Testament, including especially the Pauline letters, is the relationship between Pauline epistolary form and other means of speaking of epistolary organization. The major terms of the debate tend to revolve around whether the New Testament letters and especially the letters of Paul follow the three-, four- or five-part structure. In this paper, the author risks an exploratory and experimental venture into developing and testing a new form of epistolary criticism, what he has labeled a Functional Sentence Perspective. The Functional Letter Perspective posits a dynamic set of categories to describe a more flexible and dynamic concept of linguistic functionality. Within the Functional Letter Perspective, the various formulas are one of the several means capable of indicating first-level groupings.

Keywords: Functional Letter Perspective; linguistic functionality; New Testament; Pauline epistolary form



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