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Durham e-Theses
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Paul as apologist

Ellis, Margaret Hilary (1981) Paul as apologist. Masters thesis, Durham University.



This thesis presents Paul in his role as apologist for the early Christian Gospel. The form and content of the Pauline letters are examined in the light of apologetic traditions. Paul follows the rules for composition of apologia as expounded in the classical 'art' of rhetoric. (Romans and 1 Corinthians are seen as deliberative apologies; Galatians and 2 Corinthians as forensic apologies). Paul also uses, adapts and rejects elements of Hellenistic - Jewish apologetic to suit his purposes. He employs typological interpretation in his presentation of the Old Testament figure of Abraham in a similar way to Philo and Josephus, but he rejects their presentation of Moses as an all-important Old Testament figure because he foresaw that this entailed acceptance of Jewish legalism. The arguments used by Paul, and their acceptance in the early Christian Churches enabled Christianity to break free of Jewish legalism, while retaining its base in the Old Testament scriptures. Paul interpret the scriptures to establish and 'prove' his understanding of Christianity. The successful apologist presents his case positively so as to win favour, and defends his case against opposition and attack. Paul accomplishes the 'apologetic' presentation of Christianity in both these respects: in the positive exposition of the Gospel to all, both Jew and Greek, and also in the defence of his position and authority as 'apostle of Christ' in the face of personal attack. A survey of Justin Martyr's work shows the use Justin makes of Paul's apologetic argumentation and the influence he had on subsequent generations of Christian apologists

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Letters
Thesis Date:1981
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:15 Jul 2013 14:42

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