Neil, B. (2016). Reading first Thessalonians as a consolatory letter in light of Seneca and ancient handbooks on letter-writing. New Testament Studies,62(1), 31-48. United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1017/S0028688515000351
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.
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