Item description for Paul and First-Century Letter Writing: Secretaries, Composition and Collection by E. Randolph Richards...
Overview E. Randolph Richards has extensively studied ancient letter writing and secretaries. Informed by the historical evidence and with a sharp eye for telltale clues in Paul's letters, he takes us into this world and places us on the scene with Paul the letter writer. What first appears to be just a study of secretaries and stationery turns out to be an intriguing glimpse of Paul the letter writer that overthrows our preconceptions and offers a new perspective on how this important portion of Christian Scripture came to be.
Publishers Description Traditional Christian art depicts Paul the letter writer, pen in hand, attentive to the Spirit. We might think we know better and imagine him pacing in agitation as he rapidly dictates to a secretary his letter to the Galatians. But in reality neither of these pictures is accurate. In Paul's day, producing a letter was a time-consuming and costly business. And we have ample resources from the ancient world to piece together what it must have been like. A secretary was usually part of the picture. But so were notes, drafts, corrections and careful rewrites, not to speak of scratchy pens, sooty ink and coarse papyrus. Interestingly, there is evidence that Paul involved his missionary team in the writing of letters. And then came the delivery over land and sea, the reading and circulation, as well as the epistolary afterlife of copying, collecting and storing. E. Randolph Richards has extensively studied ancient letter writing and secretaries. Informed by the historical evidence and with a sharp eye for telltale clues in Paul's letters, he takes us into this world and places us on the scene with Paul the letter writer. What first appears to be just a study of secretaries and stationery turns out to be an intriguing glimpse of Paul the letter writer that overthrows our preconceptions and offers a new perspective on how this important portion of Christian Scripture came to be.
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Studio: InterVarsity Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.96" Width: 6.46" Height: 0.76" Weight: 0.85 lbs.
Release Date Nov 22, 2004
Publisher IVP-InterVarsity Press
ISBN 0830827889 ISBN13 9780830827886
Availability 0 units.
More About E. Randolph Richards
E. Randolph Richards (M.Div. and Ph.D., Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) is dean of the School of Ministry and professor of biblical studies at Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, Florida. He has frequently served as an interim or "supply" pastor, and from 1988 to 1996 he was a missionary with the International Mission Board, SBC, stationed in East Indonesia. His scholarly articles have appeared inJournal of the Evangelical Theological Society, Southwestern Journal of Theology, Bulletin for Biblical Research and Biblical Illustrator. He is coauthor of Discovering Paul: An Introduction to His World, Letters and Theology and The Story of Israel: A Biblical Theology. He is the author of Paul and First-Century Letter Writing and The Secretary in the Letters of Paul in the Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament series.
E. Randolph Richards has an academic affiliation as follows - Ouachita Baptist University.
Reviews - What do customers think about Paul and First-Century Letter Writing: Secretaries, Composition and Collection?
A Must Have For Any Student of Paul's Letters Apr 5, 2005
Paul and First Century Letter Writing is a valuable contribution to any study of Paul the apostle. Because so much of what we know about Paul we learn from his letters, understanding the practice of letter writing in his culture is vital to understanding Paul. This is not only true for understanding the meaning of his letters, but also for the issues that bother some academics-did Paul write Ephesians? Is 2 Corinthians one letter? Or two or three combined into one?
Though commentaries on Pauline letters or biographies of Paul may discuss aspects of these issues, full treatments of the issue of ancient letter writing and its implications for the study of Paul's letters are harder to find. Here, Richards offers just such a book. He describes the materials involved in drafting letters, how ancient letter writers used sources, the procedure of letter writing, the time involved, the use of secretaries, the detection of interpolations, the use of letter carriers, and the distances and means of travel of those carriers. Richards then draws out the practical effect of this knowledge. For example, he explains why letter writing was so expensive and does a convincing job of determining the cost in present-value dollars. He also explains the significance of co-authorship on Paul's letters. Though many of Paul's letters were co-authored, many scholars seem to all but ignore this fact in their study of the theology and language of Paul's letters. This is a mistake. A co-author of a letter would have had a substantial impact on the content and theme of "Paul's" letters. The use of different secretaries and even letter carriers too may have affected the content of Paul's letters, though to a lesser degree.
In support of his conclusions, Richards draws on a vast amount of first-century writings, including many non-Christian letters from the ancient Mediterranean. This is a welcome use of sources and counters any suspicion that Richards is simply striving to reach a particular result. He also gives a good account of prior efforts to gauge the impact of ancient letter writing.
Finally, the book is well written. Richards writes clearly and simply. He also does a surprisingly good job of placing the read back in Paul's time, on the streets of ancient Greek cities, or in courtyard of a middle-class apartment. Furthermore, the book is well organized. He builds his case in each section and makes his argument. He then ends each section with a clear statement of his conclusion. You may not agree with his conclusions, but you can see how he reached them.
I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in better understanding Paul and his letters.