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Determining the Social Function of Moral Exhortation in Valentinian Christianity
Author: Philip L. Tite
Offering a fresh assessment of the presence and function of paraenesis within Valentinianism, this book places Valentinian moral exhortation within the context of early Christian moral discourse. Like other early Christians, Valentinians were not only interested in ethics, but used moral exhortation to discursively shape social identity. Building on the increasing recognition of ethical and communal concerns reflected in the Nag Hammadi sources, this book advances the discussion by elucidating the social rhetoric within, especially, the Gospel of Truth and the Interpretation of Knowledge. The social function of paraenesis is to persuade an audience through social re-presentation. The authors of these texts discursively position their readers, and themselves, within engaging moments of narrativity. It is hoped that this study will encourage greater integration of research between those working on the Nag Hammadi material and those studying early Christian paraenetic discourse.
Author: Philip L. Tite
Challenging nearly two centuries of scholarship, this book offers the first close analysis of the apocryphal epistle to the Laodiceans. A near consensus in scholarship has emerged in which Laodiceans is dismissed as a random collection of phrases plucked from the undisputed Pauline letters, which lacks any organizational structure or theological sophistication. In The Apocryphal Epistle to the Laodiceans, Philip Tite offers a detailed analysis of this Latin letter by exploring the epistolary conventions utilized by the letter writer. What emerges is a pseudonymous text that is a carefully crafted paraenetic letter with a discernible rhetorical situation. By highlighting Laodiceans’ use of Paul as a literary culture hero, Tite situates the letter within second-century Christian identity formation.
Author: Philip L. Tite

Abstract

Debate continues between reductionists and non-reductionists over sui generis discourse within the academic study of religion. In this article, Gnosticism is explored as a case study for applying methodological reductionism to categorical designations. Metaphysical reductionist approaches to Gnosticism have been present in the field, rendering "Gnosticism" as a transhistorical phenomenon which is irreducible to social scientific methods. After discussing the phenomenological approach of Hans Fonas and the cognitive approach of Ioan Couliano, this article, rejecting both ontological and metaphysical reduction, advocates the application of methodological reductionism. Methodological reduction helps to shift classifications away from conflation with reality to be seen, instead, as analytical devices for theorizing first-order data. A relative approach to the function of classification tools enables us to explore the modes of relation within particular classificatio constructions.

In: Method & Theory in the Study of Religion
In: The Apocryphal Epistle to the Laodiceans
In: The Apocryphal Epistle to the Laodiceans
In: The Apocryphal Epistle to the Laodiceans
In: The Apocryphal Epistle to the Laodiceans
In: The Apocryphal Epistle to the Laodiceans
In: The Apocryphal Epistle to the Laodiceans