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Archaeology and the Letters of Paul$
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Laura Salah Nasrallah

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199699674

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199699674.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 17 January 2022

On History and Love

On History and Love

Thessalonikē, the Thessalonian Correspondence, and the Afterlife of the Apostle Paul

(p.224) Chapter 7 On History and Love
Archaeology and the Letters of Paul

Laura Salah Nasrallah

Oxford University Press

Early Christians acted “out of love” for Paul—to quote a phrase from Tertullian—producing other texts and stories in his name or associated with him. Such pseudepigraphical writings should be understood in the context of Roman “practices of history” found, for example, in the spheres of education, entertainment, and literature. Pseudepigraphical and other references to Paul are found in Thessalonikē: 1 Thessalonians becomes the grounds for civic pride in the apostle over several centuries. Letters in Paul’s name (like 2 Thessalonians) or stories about him (as in the Acts of the Apostles) indicate ongoing engagement. These are improvisations that complicate the categories of history and fiction. Such texts and practices, for which we also find archaeological evidence in Ephesos and Philippi, must be understood within the context of “epistolary narratives” in antiquity that sought to expand the life of a famous figure, not as instantiations of forgery or lies.

Keywords:   forgery, pseudepigraphy, historiography, Roman spectacle, Roman education, letters of Paul, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, Lucian, epistolary novel

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