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Other Patterns, Other Voices

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Chapter Summary

This chapter investigates what we may call the major third-person characters of epistolary exchange, characters who are mentioned in the letter frequently and whose actions are of importance for appreciating the situation being confronted by the letter-writer and the readers. For the sake of analysis, the third-person characters can be divided into two groups, those associated with the author's conception of divinity (that is, God and Christ), on one hand, and the author's adversaries, on the other. The chapter suggests that both of these sorts of categories for third-person characters figure prominently also in the construction of ancient philosophic paraenesis, a feature that sheds some light on both the decidedly religious and the fundamentally dialectical nature of this mode of communication. As befits the epistle's historical situation, the primary target of the author's condemnatory speech is the Colossian philosophy, its religious teachings and regimen.

Keywords: ancient philosophic paraenesis; Christ; Colossian philosophy; divinity; epistle; epistolary exchange; God



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