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τὸ ἐν λόγῳ ἰδιωτικὸν τοῦ Ἀποστόλου

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Revisiting Patristic Testimony on Paul’s Rhetorical Education

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Abstract The interpretation of patristic testimony has become an important part of the ongoing debate regarding Paul’s formal knowledge of ancient rhetorical theory. As early as 1898, E. Norden observed that Paul‘s earliest readers frequently commented on his innocence of Greco-Roman paideia. And yet, as Margaret Mitchell more recently has shown, these very readers often praised the power of Pauline persuasion, and, what is more, identified numerous rhetorical figures and tropes in Paul’s letters. This article provides a reevaluation of the patristic testimony as well as its apologetic context. In so doing, it calls into question Mitchell’s own explanation of the apparently contradictory evidence.


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