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Over the sweep of (Christian) history, the Apostle Paul has been variously perceived. Whatever else one might know of or think about Paul, by virtue of the fact that thirteen of the twenty-seven documents in the New Testament bear his name, he is widely known as a (skilled) writer (of letters). The purpose of this essay is to orient readers to and to guide readers through the Pauline Letters. Following a succinct introduction to Paul the letter writer, his letters are considered in the following order: Galatians, Romans, 1-2 Corinthians, 1-2 Thessalonians, Philippians, Philemon, Colossians, Ephesians, Titus, 1 Timothy, and 2 Timothy. A brief conclusion follows this contextual, non-chronological treatment of the Pauline Letter corpus, meant both to facilitate and to commend a reading of the letters themselves.
Although interpreters of Philippians have observed both the number and the progression of items in Phil 3.5–6, previous scholarship on the letter has failed to recognise that this ‘catalogue of boasting’ consists of precisely seven items. As a result, commentators have not attempted to explicate these two verses in light of the ostensible presence and influence of numerical symbolism. This paper offers a fresh reading of Phil 3.5–6 (and surrounding verses) – one that keeps Paul's sevenfold list of his pedigree and performance in Judaism clearly in view. The insights gleaned from the interpretation proffered in this article enable a fuller understanding of this programmatic autobiographical text.
The majority of Pauline scholars depict the eschatological orientation of Colossians as ‘realized’. Furthermore, a number of interpreters juxtapose the eschatological ‘already’ which arguably earmarks the epistle with the eschatological ‘not yet’ which ostensibly permeates Paul. This article questions the common contention that Colossians, in contradistinction to Paul, is virtually void of futurist eschatology. It is argued herein that even though the ‘already’ may feature in the letter, the ‘not yet’ is more pervasive than is frequently supposed. Correlatively, this study suggests that there is less variance between the eschatological perspectives of Colossians and Paul than is typically recognized.
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