Paul as a non-Philosopher

Reading Acts

OratorPaul frequently distinguishes himself from Greco-Roman philosophers. In several different texts, Paul boasts in his weakness and claims he is unskilled as a public speaker. In 1 Thess 2:1-7, for example, he clearly distances himself from the typical orator the Thessalonians likely encountered every day. He has “pure motives in contrast to those who use slick rhetoric to manipulate their audiences. Perhaps he is using some false humility to over emphasize the boasts of the opponents, since it is appears he was at least an effective speaker if not familiar with the way ideas were presented in the Roman world.

In 1 Thessalonians Paul reminds the church how he conducted himself when he was in the city. Abraham Malherbe suggested this description of Paul’s motivations for ministry is not really apologetic but a presentation of Paul’s model of the moral behavior he expects out of his congregation. “The philosopher presented…

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About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. I study the History of Biblical Interpretation at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio, as part of its Ph.D. program. I have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting.
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