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Mirror-Reading a Pseudepigraphal Letter

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image of Novum Testamentum

This study investigates the implications of pseudonymity for the interpretative process, arguing that we need to take into account the pseudepigraphal attempt to achieve a “reality effect” by employing tropes and concerns from authentic Pauline letters to lend the forged writing an air of verisimilitude. But in this way our ability, if we judge a text pseudepigraphal, to discern reality from appearance is severely problematized, and we should therefore consider the possibility that pseudepigraphal letters should be treated more as rhetorical compositions than as epistolary literature, since all the ostensive elements of epistolarity are fictionalized in a pseudepigraphal letter.

Affiliations: 1: University of Notre Dame IndianaUSA


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