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Dusting Off a Pseudo-Historical Letter: Re-Thinking the Epistolary Aspects of the Apocryphal Epistle to the Laodiceans

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Chapter Summary

Laodiceans deserves to be situated in the stream of Pauline tradition, a work that was impactful upon second-century Christianity. This chapter walks through the epistolary units comprising the letter, elucidating discursive aspects of the letter as these units build upon each other. The eschatological finale in the thanksgiving is not designed as a warning, but rather as a promise. In the chapter, the author has challenged nearly two centuries of scholarship on Laodiceans. The only other scholar demonstrating an interest in the internal logic of the letter, and in the process coming to very similar conclusions, has been Richard Pervo in The Making of Paul. The chapter demonstrates that an application of epistolary analysis to this letter reveals a carefully constructed arrangement, with the various compositional units supporting a moral exhortation to remain firm to the "true gospel" in the face of opposing or competing understandings of Christian teaching.

Keywords: Christian teaching; epistolary analysis; Laodiceans; Pauline tradition



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