Paul and First-century Letter Writing: Secretaries, Composition, and Collection

Paul and First-century Letter Writing: Secretaries, Composition, and Collection


By (author) Professor E Randolph Richards

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  • Publisher: Inter-Varsity Press,US
  • Format: Microfilm | 252 pages
  • Dimensions: 152mm x 226mm x 23mm | 363g
  • Publication date: 1 November 2004
  • Publication City/Country: Illinois
  • ISBN 10: 0830827889
  • ISBN 13: 9780830827886
  • Edition statement: New.
  • Sales rank: 874,457

Product description

Traditional Christian art depicts Paul the letter writer, pen in hand, attentive to the Spirit. We might think we know better and imagine him pacing in agitation as he rapidly dictates to a secretary his letter to the Galatians. But in reality neither of these pictures is accurate. In Paul's day, producing a letter was a time-consuming and costly business. And we have ample resources from the ancient world to piece together what it must have been like. A secretary was usually part of the picture. But so were notes, drafts, corrections and careful rewrites, not to speak of scratchy pens, sooty ink and coarse papyrus. Interestingly, there is evidence that Paul involved his missionary team in the writing of letters. And then came the delivery over land and sea, the reading and circulation, as well as the epistolary afterlife of copying, collecting and storing. E. Randolph Richards has extensively studied ancient letter writing and secretaries. Informed by the historical evidence and with a sharp eye for telltale clues in Paul's letters, he takes us into this world and places us on the scene with Paul the letter writer. What first appears to be just a study of secretaries and stationery turns out to be an intriguing glimpse of Paul the letter writer that overthrows our preconceptions and offers a new perspective on how this important portion of Christian Scripture came to be.

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Review quote

"A comprehensive, impressive, insightful, informative and engaging account of letter writing in the ancient world with primary emphasis on the composition and collection of Paul's letters. Richards builds upon--but expands--his earlier work (The Secretary in the Letters of Paul, 1991) by including additional information about the mechanics of writing letters (all the 'nuts and bolts'), the role of coauthors and colleagues (such as Timothy, Sosthenes, Tertius, Silas), and the significance of preformed material and interpolations for understanding issues of Pauline authorship. The book is the fruit of sound historical research and cautious scholarship. It is a major contribution to the field, bound to be read with profit and treasured by teachers, pastors and students of the New Testament."--Arthur G. Patzia, Professor of New Testament, Fuller Northern California