This engaging study shows how Paul's stylized use of the official Roman letter 'a form of communication of great social import in his day' played a crucial role in his apostolic ministry, conveying both his self-identity and sense of authority. M. Luther Stirewalt describes the logistics of letter writing in the first-century Mediterranean world and shows how official letters served to substitute for speeches to an audience, to convey executive, official, or bureaucratic matters, or to bring complaints or petitions from citizens to officials. He then shows how Paul structured his apostolic correspondence after these models of writing, drawing evidence directly from seven Pauline epistles: 1 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Philippians, Philemon, Galatians, and Romans. Cutting a new angle on Paul's purposes, his ministry, and his pastoral concerns, Stirewalt's "Paul, the Letter Writer" will appeal to readers of the Bible and ancient history.
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