Paul and the Ancient Letter Form


Throughout the last century, there has been continuous study of Paul as a writer of letters. Although this fact was acknowledged by previous generations of scholars, it was during the twentieth century that the study of ancient letter-writing practices came to the fore and began to be applied to the study of the letters of the New Testament. This volume seeks to advance the discussion of Paul's relationship to Greek epistolary traditions by evaluating the nature of ancient letters as well as the individual letter components. These features are evaluated alongside Paul's letters to better understand Paul's use and adaptations of these traditions in order to meet his communicative needs.
Restricted Access


EUR €149.00USD $198.00

Biographical Note

Stanley E. Porter, Ph.D. (1988) in Biblical Studies and Linguistics, the University of Sheffield, is President and Professor of New Testament at McMaster Divinity College, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. He has published extensively in New Testament and related subjects, and has also edited the first five volumes in the Pauline Studies series.

Sean A. Adams, Ph.D. (Cand.) in New Testament and Christian Origins, the University of Edinburgh. He has published in the areas of Greek linguistics, New Testament literary background and Pauline letters.

Review Quotes

Il volume…offre una rassegna pressoché complete del panorama epistolare e rappresenta uno strumento prezioso per gli studiosi dell’epistolario paolino
Antonio Landi, Asprenas 58 (2011)

It is clear that the contributions to this volume, summarizing and assessing previous research and sometimes also treading some new paths of study on some of the most important elements of the Pauline letters, are more than welcome.
Bart J. Koet, Bijdragen, International Journal in Philosophy and Theology 73.1

Table of contents

Pauline Epistolography: An Introduction
Stanley E. Porter and Sean A. Adams

A Functional Letter Perspective: Towards a Grammar of Epistolary Form
Stanley E. Porter

Paul’s Letter Opening and Greek Epistolography: A Matter of Relationship
Sean A. Adams

How to Begin, and Why? Diverse Functions of the Pauline Prescript within a Greco-Roman Context
Philip L. Tite

Gospel within the Constraints of an Epistolary Form: Pauline Introductory Thanksgivings and Paul’s Theology of Thanksgiving
David W. Pao

Paul’s Letter Thanksgiving
Peter Arzt-Grabner

A Significant Decade: The Trajectory of the Hellenistic Epistolary Thanksgiving
Raymond F. Collins

Investigating the Pauline Letter Body: Issues, Methods, and Approaches
Troy W. Martin

A Moral Dilemma? The Epistolary Body of 2 Timothy
Cynthia Long Westfall

Paul’s Letter Paraeesis
Young Chul Whang

Index of Modern Authors
Index of Ancient Sources


All those interested in Pauline studies and the relationship of the New Testament to the larger literary world, specifically epistolography, and Paul's relationship(s) with his churches.


Collection Information