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Pauline Influence: Philemon and Colossians

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Chapter Summary

It is generally assumed that two epistles of the Pauline corpus were addressed to Colossae, namely the Epistle to Philemon and the Epistle to the Colossians. The church in Colossae is mentioned (alongside Laodicea and Hierapolis) only in Colossians; there is no place name in Philemon, but the epistle mentions a whole series of people who also appear in Colossians. Defining the historical relationship of the Epistle to Philemon and the Epistle to the Colossians raises a host of substantial problem, involving external factors like chronology and the identity of the correspondents as well as the content and purpose of the texts. In his epistle, Paul wants not only to gain Philemon's support for Onesimus but also to suggest a new area of responsibility for the latter: Onesimus is to be employed in service to the gospel under the aegis of Paul.

Keywords: Epistle to Philemon; Epistle to the Colossians; Hierapolis; Laodicea; Lycus Valley; Onesimus; Pauline corpus

10.1163/9789004264281_004
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