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15 Did the Thessalonians Write to Paul?

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Chapter Summary

Paul chose letters as the means by which to address the issues that engaged him and his churches. First Thessalonians is the earliest extant Pauline letter, and thus the earliest preserved Christian writing. It may in fact be the first letter Paul wrote to a church, but that is beyond proof. Nevertheless, in 1 Thessalonians Paul is continuing a conversation with the Thessalonians that had begun with his arrival in their city months earlier. This letter has been thought to provide information about earlier communication between Paul and the Thessalonians. This chapter explains the epistolographic elements that have been identified and Paul's characterization of Timothy's report, which is also given in epistolographic terms. The epistolographic elements related to the Thessalonians' communication are supplemented by others relating to Paul's reception of their communication.

Keywords: 1 Thessalonians; Christian writing; epistolographic elements; Pauline letter; Timothy

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