Skeptical of the trend among many biblical scholars to analyze Paul's short, affectionate letter to the Philippians in light of Greco-Roman letter-writing conventions, Ben Witherington instead looks at Philippians as a masterful piece of long-distance oratory--an extension of Paul's speech, dictated to a scribe and meant to be read aloud to its recipients.
In Paul's letter to the Philippians: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary Witherington examines Paul's short but powerful letter in light of Greco-Roman rhetorical conventions, identifying Paul's purpose, highlighting his main points and his persuasive strategies, and considering how his original audience would have heard and received Paul's message.
When a commentator of Ben Witheringtons skill, experience, and stature turns his learned eye and directs his limpid prose to Pauls beloved letter to the Philippians, expectations are exceedingly high. This latest installment in Witheringtons socio-rhetorical commentary series does not disappoint...His commentary on Philippians is a substantial, serious work that will occupy a place on my bookshelf alongside Bockmuehl and Fee. It is among the finest full-length commentaries presently available in English.
-Todd D. Still
Truett Seminary, Baylor University
Drawing on an impressive range of interpreters (including those who have critiqued his previous work), Ben Witherington provides a careful and helpful reading of Philippians and the issues it addresses. His lucid prose guides both beginning and practiced readers through the argumentative function of each section, consistently affirming that rhetorical criticism is the most appropriate lens for reading Pauls work. At the same time, Witheringtons socio-rhetorical method leads him to highlight the ways that seeing the letter in its Greco-Roman and Macedonian social and cultural contexts enriches our understanding...This commentary is certain to become a work that students and teachers will refer to often.
-Jerry L. Sumney,
Lexington Theological Seminary
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