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Creating the Future: Apocalyptic Rhetoric in 1 Thessalonians

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Recent studies of apocalyptic literature have brought better definitions of the genre and its worldviews, but have largely ignored issues of argumentation and the nature of apocalyptic discourse. Modern theories of rhetorical criticism help the critic to analyse how that discourse helped the early church to talk about their experiences of persecution and marginality, and how those experiences were to be understood in light of the gospel, which promised that believers were to be with the Lord. In effect apocalyptic discourse helped describe the ethical principles to be followed in daily life and create visions of the future that motivated the believers to practise those principles.

Affiliations: 1: Crawford Professor of Religion, Emeritus University of Redlands Redlands, CA 92373 United States of America

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