Publication Date



In his first letter to the Thessalonians, Paul addressed the occasion of deaths among Christians with stock arguments of the consolatory genre, without using the typical epistolary structure associated with consolation in ancient handbooks of letter-writing. It is demonstrated that three of Seneca the Younger's letters also employed stock arguments of consolation, but did not follow the usual structure for a letter of consolation. Using Seneca's letters as a test case for what constituted pagan ideas of consolation, we highlight some compelling reasons for reading First Thessalonians as a letter of consolation, a reading that offers some new insights into the passage on the right Christian attitude towards death in 1 Thess 4.13–5.11.


Centre for Biblical and Early Christian Studies

Document Type

Journal Article

Access Rights

ERA Access

Access may be restricted.