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4 “Gentle as a Nurse”: The Cynic Background to 1 Thessalonians 2

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Chapter Summary

Paul's description of his Thessalonian ministry in 1 Thess 2 has in recent years been variously interpreted. This chapter examines in greater depth the Cynic background to 1 Thessalonians 2 posited by Martin Dibelius. Attention is directed to the diversity that existed among wandering preachers and among the Cynics themselves, and to the self-descriptions of serious-minded Cynic philosophers in this context. The first type of philosopher Dio Chrysostom describes are the resident philosophers who "do not appear in public at all, and prefer not to run the risk, possibly because they despair of being able to improve the masses". He seems to have in mind men like Seneca and Cornutus, who were either members of large private households which they served as philosophic chaplains, or who were to be found at court.

Keywords: 1 Thessalonians 2; Dio Chrysostom; Martin Dibelius; Paul

10.1163/9789004256521_006
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