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Colossians and its Historical Setting

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Chapter Summary

The success of the epistle to the Colossians in fostering among its intended readers an informed and active understanding of Christian existence must have depended in no small part on the letter-writer's ability to speak appropriately and aptly to their particular historical, cultural, and religious situation. A basic task for the present investigation of Colossians is to address the issue of how the author has designed this "moral appeal and to identify the ideas and methods that would have made the letter effective in communicating its message to a Hellenistic audience. This chapter deals with some preliminary remarks regarding the formal characteristics of the text itself. These remarks will be useful both as a demonstration that moral exhortation is indeed a central concern for the letter-writer and as a means of exposing some of the characteristic features of the epistle's moral appeal.

Keywords: Christ; epistle to the Colossians; epistolary communication; Hellenistic culture; moral exhortation



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