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23 Anti-Epicurean Rhetoric in 1 Thessalonians

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Chapter Summary

This chapter draws attention to Paul's use of Epicurean elements in two contexts, the discussions of eschatology and social morality. Paul's eschatological discussion in 1 Thess 4:13-5:11 makes use of Jewish apocalyptic traditions, and the history of the interpretation of the letter shows that attention has been almost exclusively focused on Paul's application of those traditions to the situation in Thessalonica. The notion of sobriety played an important role in discussions among and about Epicureans. Epicurus considered pleasure the goal of the happy life, and thought of pleasure as sober and abstemious, and that it was to be found with friends, friendship "dancing around the world proclaiming to us all to awake to the praises of a happy life".

Keywords: Epicurean elements; Paul; Thessalonica



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