Article

Pauline Letters

Magnus Zetterholm

in Biblical Studies

ISBN: 9780195393361
Published online December 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195393361-0082
Pauline Letters

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Thirteen letters in the New Testament bear the name of Paul, a Jewish follower of Jesus of Nazareth, who probably was born in Tarsus (in modern Turkey) in the beginning of the first century ce and who was, according to tradition, executed in Rome in the mid-60s. The letters were composed at various locations in Asia Minor and Europe and typically deal with local problems in the communities. In several cases they are direct responses to questions posed by those communities. However, the majority of New Testament scholars generally agree that Paul is not the author of all letters that bear his name. The Pauline corpus can thus be divided into two groups: (1) letters almost certainly written by Paul (authentic), (2) letters concerning which discussion is ongoing regarding authorship (disputed). Within this latter group, some letters are more disputed than others. In addition to the letters included in the New Testament, a number of noncanonical letters are also associated with Paul (e.g., the Epistle to the Laodiceans, 3 Corinthians), which clearly date from a later period. Among the authentic letters of Paul we find the earliest writings in the New Testament, and accordingly, the earliest witnesses to the Jesus movement. As such, they are of immense value for historical research on the emergence and development of the religious movement that would eventually be known as the Christian church.

Article.  8545 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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