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Do We Still Need St Paul

A Contemporary Reading of the Apostle

Author(s): Kieran J. O'Mahony

ISBN13: 9781847301710

ISBN10: 1847301711

Publisher: Veritas

Extent: 144 pages

Binding: Paperback

Size: 1.3 x 13.5 x 20.8 cm

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  • In this study, the experience, spirituality and teaching of St Paul are made available for today. As we search for new ways of being Church, we can be inspired again by the earliest and perhaps greatest Christian writer of the first century. In particular, Paul of Tarsus models spirituality, pastoral practice and practical theology in a way that can be very helpful for todays believers.

     

    Through the prism of his experience, the light of Christ can be refracted again today, and just as previous generations found resources for new vision and courage in the apostle to the Gentiles, so can we in our time and culture.

  • Kieran J. O'Mahony


    Dr Kieran J. O’Mahony OSA is an Augustinian friar and a biblical scholar, who lectured for more than twenty years in the Milltown Institute of  Theology and Philosophy, Dublin. Academically, his research interests include St Paul, the historical Jesus, and the Resurrection. Among his publications are Do We Still Need St Paul? and What Does the Bible Say About the Stranger? He is a regular contributor to Scripture in Church and Doctrine and Life. He now works for the Archdiocese of Dublin as Coordinator of Biblical Studies. To see his current projects and publications, visit www.tarsus.ie.


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  • Chapter 1

    DOWE STILL NEED ST PAUL?

    In celebrating the Year of St Paul, the second reading at SundayMass may at last be the inspiration of the homily. It is natural, of course, that the Gospel narrative should draw the attention of both hearer and speaker because it is through the essential nature of story that the reader is drawn in. Nevertheless, to neglect the earliest and perhaps the mightiest Christian writer would seem to be an unnecessary deprivation.
    It is not that there are no problems with the excerpts read in the liturgy. First, the short selections come from long, often complex mosaics of persuasion, and just as the pieces in a real mosaic make sense only when we see the full picture, likewise the excerpts find their meaning in the context of longer reflections. Second, Paul is difficult, as was noted very early on in the tradition: So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in themhard to understand (2 Pet 3:15-16). Indeed there are! So, do we still need St Paul today? Let me outline why I think he is still an essential guide to the Christian life, a resource for today who can inspire and inform.

    1. RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE

    In the West at least, the mainline Christian churches are in rapid recession. The one exception is the dramatic rise of the Pentecostalist movement(s). One of the reasons, surely, is that the Pentecostalist churches give significant space to religious experience and are not afraid of the emotional dimension of believing and worshipping, whereas all the churches of the West have had their reservations about religious experience. Perhaps one of the reasons for church decline is simply that there is little in peoples experience that corresponds with the wonderful proclamation and promise of the Good News. There are two gaps in reality. There is the gap between what is proclaimed and how people experience their world. The gap between head and heart is sustained by the dry didacticism of much common worship.
    In some contrast, St Paul was first and foremost someone utterly swept away by his experience of the risen Lord. As a zealously observant Jew, he was always a person of prayer. The big turning in his life occurred because of a revelation, as he tells us: But when God was pleased to reveal his Son tome (Gal 1:15-16).He had other religious experiences, which he narrates with convincing reluctance in 2Corinthians 12. In the letter to the Galatians, in a unique personal
    note, he tells us: And the life I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me (Gal 2:20; emphasis added).To use his own words, nothing could ever separate him from the love of God, revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom 8:39). Although a great teacher of faith precisely as faith, in some sense or other, Paul also knew the truth of the Gospel, and for him it was not a speculation but a fact, a fact of experience, the reality of the Risen Lord, the reality of being loved to such an extraordinary, hardly believable extent.
    Perhaps here for us today is an invitation to give great importance to the experiential and emotional dimensions of believing. The regeneration of the Church, if it is to happen, can have no other genesis, if not in the heart and mind of the believer. Otherwise, we run the risk of passing on the faith second-hand, as a kind of commodity, rather than a relationship.

    2. MINISTRY

    Ministry in the mainline churches is also undergoing a crisis. Is it imaginable that we, at such a distance in time and culture, could learn today from someone who lived so long ago? A good place to begin might be Pauls own pastoral practice.
    After two thousand years of Church it can be difficult to conjure up the earliest experience of ministry, which must have been significantly different. What happened when St Paul arrived in a new city, for instance in Thessalonica? How did he start? How did he convince? A reconstruction is not easy to arrive at, but a clue may be found in an unusual, even daring, expression that he uses in his writings: Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ (1 Cor 11:1; see also 1 Cor 4:16; 1 Thess 1:6; 2Thess 3:7, 9;Gal 4:12).The sequence is striking, because he puts himself between the believer and Christ. I understand this to mean that Paul could not simply tell people about the Good News in Christ. In order that they might sense it or feel it as something genuine and real, he would have had to model the Good News for the min his person and in his behaviour. Paul , so much against any vaunting of self , is not boasting when he says, Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. He is simply describing his actual ministry, as an elderly confr?¿re of mine used to put it, in all humility, but with an emphasis on the truth! It is not too much to say that Paul had to be what he proclaimed; otherwise it would have been mere words. Naturally, there is more to it than that, but we have touched on something very alive and central: bearers of the Good News who are themselves being transformed by the Gospel have a persuasive force that no mere doctrinal exhortation, however brilliant, can match.
    This, in turn, does raise a question about the core of ministry in our own day. Unless the bearer of the Good News is being transformed by what he or she proclaims, the word will be stillborn. The increasing professionalisation of ministry, among both clergy and pastoral agents, may be necessary, but it does also risk being beside the point. In the end, we are looking for Christ-like figures, people who convince first by who they are and what they do even before they speak. This is no doubt a very demanding, even impossible ideal, but should any of us be satisfied with less? Perhaps the now-distant ministry of Paul, apparently so remote, can bring us nearer to the heart of proclamation in our own time and place. The conviction of convinced believers has its own persuasive power.

    3. TRUSTING HIS HEARERS

    The loudest complaint among those still going to church is about the quality of homilies. It is no secret that a renewal of preaching did not accompany the renewal of the liturgy after Vatican II. It is not that we lack for resources: never were more books, commentaries, Internet articles and the like at our disposal. It is even said that Ireland has the highest per priestly capita sales on books of homilies and about preaching. Nevertheless, preaching remains unexcited and unexciting , curious in a country renowned for the inventive agility of its language.
    It is worth asking how this has come about. I suspect we have been betrayed by two trends in the last thirty or forty years of preaching. The first trend is to have one idea, leading to the gross simplification of the Christian project. Christianity doesnt have to be impenetrably complicated, but it is complex. Listening to much preaching, one might be justified in concluding that there isnt actually a whole lot to Christianity. It is not that a return to the catechism preaching of a more theological bent is the solution, but rather that an appropriate depth of analysis and richness of proclamation are necessary if we are to speak to the educated people of today. The second debilitating trend is to make morals the connecting point with peoples lives. This is both easy and fatal. It is easy, in that none of us is perfect and so something along of the lines of therefore let us be better will always h it home. But bear in mind that people, being told they should be better, also feel assessed and judged. As a result, often their heads are with us, but not their hearts. It is fatal because morality is not at the centre of the Christian proclamation. It is Christ who is the centre and we behave in distinctive ways as a response to Christ. Can we learn from St Paul , who candidly confirms the assessment of the Corinthians: His letters are weighty and strong, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible (2Cor 10:10)? There may be encouragement there for people who dont feel up to public speaking and preaching!
    St Paul regularly trusts his audience with the strong meat of his deepest convictions. The apostle always persuades, that is, he lines up real arguments in structured sequence, hoping to move by reasoned conviction, not by sheer force. Perhaps the most daunting, yet illuminating example of this approach is the whole letter to the Romans. Paul honours his hearers and readers (then and now), by offering us complex reflections on complex issues and by not making things apparently easy that in reality are difficult. He does, of course, give advice , moral, spiritual and practical. But the advice is always in light of the Gospel, the Christ event. Nowhere is this clearer than in the first letter to the Corinthians. This letter contains a great deal of advice, but the advice is framed by the Cross (1 Cor 1) and the Resurrection (1 Cor 15). These are the bookends of the Christian proclamation, so that whatever advice is given is held up by the core reality of what God has done for us in Jesus.
    Is there not something to be learned here for our preaching today? Should we not show the same joyful seriousness and depth? Can we not trust our hearers , or is it ourselves? , with the strong meat of deep conviction and effective persuasion? It is true that congregations are always mixed and to some extent we have to choose a level on which to speak. But why choose always the lowest common denominator? The educated believers of today are ready for something more substantial and engaging, something more challenging, and in the end something more life-giving.

    4. CHRIST

    Even though Christ is at the centre, there are two tremendous challenges to Christian faith today closely connected to our faith in Jesus. The first is the awareness of all the other possible faiths in the world, an awareness that can lead to a feeling that all religions are essentially the same. Was there really anything so special about Jesus? The second question is internal to our faith: we are not sure how to talk today about God in Christ and Christ on the cross. In technical terms, we have not found a contemporary language to talk about the incarnation (Jesus as both human and divine) and redemption (what happened in his death and resurrection for us). These topics cannot be said to be on the periphery. As part of the task of finding new language, we can revitalise our perspectives by dialogue with the greats who were there at the start, pre-eminently among them, Saul who became Paul.
    As you will have noticed, the religious experience of Paul was the risen Lord, simply. When he proclaimed, he spoke from within his own experience of being transformed by Christ, who loved me and gave himself for me. In his persuasion, everything comes from and leads to Christ. We too are invited to trust this experience of faith. We are also called to allow ourselves to be loved, even if it is difficult to imagine that the creator of the cosmos could be a lover who comes so close to us in Jesus of Nazareth. We too are invited to let our whole lives and selves be shaped by faith in the Lord Jesus, just as Paul did.
    While aware that God is working through all the other faiths, for Us Christ stands at the centre. While aware that God is saving through all the other faiths, the cross, paradoxical and radically different, is still our turning point in time. The words of the first encyclical of Benedict XVI come to mind: Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction (Deus caritas est, 1).This encounter has the potential to transform our lives, while opening a new horizon of understanding. St Paul expresses it poetically, providing a wonderful summary of his world view:

    But just as we have the same spirit of faith that is in accordance with scripture , I believed, and so I spoke , we also believe, and so we speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will bring us with you into his presence. Yes, everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. (2 Cor 4:13-15)

    We still need St Paul because the future Church will have to be a place of encounter, transformation, passion and understanding. In equal measure we need passionate and intelligent believers, whose being transformed by faith is driven by the encounter with the risen Lord and expressed in reasonable dialogue with the world.

    THE YEAR OF PAUL

    To bring this invitation to a conclusion, it might help to locate St Paul in the first century of our era. Although this year has been proclaimed the Year of St Paul, to mark the 2,000th anniversary of his birth, in reality no one knows when he was born. The Irish Paul scholar, Jerome Murphy-OConnor OP, makes a very good case for bringing the birth of Paul back to roughly the same time as Jesus himself, that is 6, 4 BC. However, it is possible to establish two dates in the life and ministry of Paul: the date of his conversion and the date of his first stay in Corinth. We shall look at each in turn.

    THE CONVERSION OF SAUL

    St Paul himself provides an important clue as to the date of his conversion, when he mentions the time he escapes from Damascus. In Damascus, the governor under King Aretas guarded the city of Damascus in order to seize me, but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and escaped from his hands (2Cor 11:32-33). This rather modest departure is confirmed in the Acts of the Apostles:
    After some time had passed, the Jews plotted to kill him, but their plot became known to Saul. They were watching the gates day and night so that they might kill him; but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a basket. (Acts 9:23-25)

    It so happens that the reign of King Aretas IV over Damascus can be fairly closely dated. To start the story at the right point, it helps to recall that King Aretas has one other important biblical link in the New Testament. One of his daughters was married to the tetrarch Herod Antipas before he divorced her to marry Herodias, the wife of his half-brother Herod Philip. John the Baptist condemned the divorce and was imprisoned, then executed by Herod Antipas around AD 29 (Mt 14:3-12 and par.). Aretas anger found revenge only later, in AD 36, when he attacked and defeated the army of Herod Antipas, gaining control ofDamascus. Tiberius sent Vitellius, the governor of Syria, to punish Aretas for his actions, but the Roman emperors death in AD 36, 37 cancelled the expedition (Jewish Antiquities 18.5.1, 3 ?º109, 25). Aretas himself died in AD 40. This means that Pauls escape took place in the period AD 36, 40.
    After Damascus, Paul eventually made what seems to have been a fairly furtive visit to Jerusalem:

    Then after three years I did go up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and stayed with him fifteen days; but I did not see any other apostle except James the Lords brother. (Gal 1:18-20)

    When he had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples; and they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him, brought him to the apostles, and described for them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had spoken boldly in the name of Jesus. So he went in and out among the min Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. (Acts 9:26-28)

    If these two texts both refer to the same journey to Jerusalem, then we can date the conversion of Paul to three years before his escape from Damascus. The conversion could, in that case, have taken place in the period 34, 37. From a modern point of view, a three-year time span might seem too broad to be useful, but when we consider that Paul at this stage was still not a figure on the Christian scene, the dating is in fact relatively accurate. A really early date , for instance AD 34 , would raise the intriguing possibility that the arrival of Paul on the scene was quite close to the time of Jesus death and the very earliest years of the Christian Church. In that year, Paul would have been about forty to forty-two years of age. The great journeys are still a long way in the future, and when he undertook them he was in his middle to late fifties.

    VISIT TO CORINTH

    The other fairly secure date in Pauline chronology is his first visit to Corinth. In the Acts of the Apostles, a Roman official is mentioned as proconsul in Achaia at the time Paul was there.

    But when Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a united attack on Paul and brought him before the tribunal. They said, This man is persuading people to worship God in ways that are contrary to the law. Just as Paul was about to speak, Gallio said to the Jews, If it were a matter of crime or serious villainy, I would be justified in accepting the complaint of you Jews; but since it is a matter of questions about words and names and your own law, see to it yourselves; I do not wish to be a judge of these matters. And he dismissed them from the tribunal. Then all of them seized Sosthenes, the official of the synagogue, and beat him in front of the tribunal. But Gallio paid no attention to any of these things. (Acts 18:12-17)

    By very good fortune, an inscription in Delphi, in central Greece, helps us to date the time when Paul was in Achaia, of which Corinth was the chief city. Paul himself, a insignificant figure to the official world of the time, is not mentioned in the inscription, but Gallio is. His time in office can be deduced from the somewhat fragmentary text, and from that it is possible to narrow down the time Paul was in Corinth to late AD 51 and early AD 52. From this secure date one may calculate backwards and forwards and create at least a relative chronology for the journeys and letter-writing of the middle-aged Paul.
    These two dates remind us of just how close Paul was in time to the ministry of Jesus. If the calculation of the conversion has some accuracy, it means the gap in time between Jesus and Paul was only six or eight years. The dating of the time in Corinth takes us to a period before any gospel was written down. In the letters, we have not only the individual voice of the apostle but also the very first documents of Christianity to come down to us. These very first
    documents are also among the most significant. It was indeed a blessing that so gifted a disciple was available for the apostolate at so formative a stage in the Christian movement. In our own way, we are again at a formative stage. In the following chapters we will use the letters as a resource to interrogate and to reignite our faith and discipleship today.

    Chapter 2

    ST PAUL THE LETTER-WRITER

    It has often been observed that the most common type of document in the New Testament is the letter. Twenty of the twenty-seven documents are letters. There are even letters in the documents that are not in themselves letters, for example in the Acts of the Apostles and in the book of Revelation. This is all in some contrast with the very first stages of the Christian movement, which operated on an oral level, going back to Jesus himself. The use of this literary form tells us a great deal about the mobility of early Christianity, as it spread across the eastern and later the western Mediterranean. Of the thirteen letters attributed to Paul, the common opinion is that he wrote seven of these. Ordinarily, Titus and 1 and 2Timothy are held to reflect a later Church context and problematic. There is some discussion about the authenticity of Colossians and Ephesians, though many scholars still think these are Deutero-Pauline, while 2 Thessalonians remains problematic for a variety of reasons. That leaves us with the seven so called genuine or authentic letters, that is, Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians and Philemon.
    In all the talk about Paul, a simple question can be asked: why did Paul write letters? Further questions regard the production, circulation and use of the letters. The answer to the first question is in one sense obvious. Paul wrote letters because he was absent from the communities he founded and wished to be in touch with them. In that sense the letters are part of the missionary strategy of the later, highly mobile Paul. His stated desire is to found as many communities as possible, in the Greco-Roman world, under the pressure of the second coming of Christ.

    THE IMPORTANCE OF THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST

    Paul, who as a Pharisee belonged to an eschatological wing of Judaism, remained an eschatological thinker as a Christian, as is clear from 1 Thessalonians and 1 Corinthians 15. Included in the world view of apocalyptic eschatology was the conviction that God had arranged a day to bring the course of world history to an end when the living and the dead would be judged. The first instalment of this event had already occurred in Jesus resurrection. Resurrection was viewed as an end time event, and the totally unexpected anticipation of the end, within history so to speak, in Jesus resurrection meant that the end had already started and, naturally, would be completed. In part, this accounts for the haste of Pauls final years: he was keen to bring the offer of Gods grace to as many as possible before the final curtain.
    An immediate consequence of that desire to reach as many as possible is that Paul moves on. He leaves behind a faith community or faith communities, usually with some minimal structure in place (But we appeal to you, brothers and sisters, to respect those who labour among you, and have charge of you in the Lord and admonish you; esteem them very highly in love because of their work [1 Thess 5:12-13]). It would seem that Pauls desire to move on was greater than his desire to oversee the faith coming to maturity in a particular place. For instance, in Corinth, he admits himself that he did not trust them with the whole proclamation (I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for solid food [1 Cor 3:2]). The fact that he did not baptise many in Corinth is a striking example of his pastoral sensitivity to peoples readiness for full commitment: I thank God that I baptised none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one can say that you were baptised in my name. (I did baptise also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptised anyone else) (1 Cor 1:14-16).
    This desire to keep moving brought with it two risks. The first risk is that someone else could come along and complete the work in a way that was not consistent with Pauls own teaching. This certainly happened in Galatia and perhaps also in Corinth. The second risk was that external and internal pressures might have proved too much for the fledgling communities. Thessalonica and Philippi are examples of places where persecution took place. The internal pressures in Corinth turned out to be enormous, calling for substantial responses over a longer period of time. Finally, the letters are also written in response to specific questions brought to Paul either by someone from the community (Galatians) or by his own representative (Thessalonians, for example).
    The letters, then, are an attempt to continue to be present to the Communities while physically absent. This fulfils one of the functions of ancient letters that is parousia: being present to while actually away. The other functions were friendship (philosphronesis) and advice (omilia). There is a very touching moment in 1 Thessalonians that illustrates what is meant: As for us, brothers and sisters, when, for a short time, we were made orphans by being separated from you , in person, not in heart , we longed with great eagerness to see you face
    to face (1 Thess 2:17-18).

    THE STRUCTURES OF LETTER-WRITING

    Letter-writing, then and now, is highly conventional. We have our conventions today, usually distinguishing personal and professional communications. In Pauls, the structure of a letter was different. For example, instead of starting with the name of the recipient (Dear X),
    it began with the name of the sender (FromX). A typical letter form from the time would look like this:

    Introduction Senders name, addressee, greetings, and often an additional greeting and wish for good health.
    Text or body Topics would be introduced in a characteristic formula.
    Conclusion This would include greetings again, good wishes, especially for persons other than the addressee; perhaps final greeting or prayer sentence. Rarely is a date given.

    An example of such a letter can be found conveniently in the Acts of the Apostles:
    Then the apostles and the elders, with the consent of the whole Church, decided to choose men from among their members and to send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They sent Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leaders among the brothers, with the following letter: The brothers, both the apostles and the elders, to the believers of Gentile origin in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia, greetings. Since we have heard that certain persons who have gone out from us, though with no instructions from us, have said things to disturb you and have unsettled your minds, we have decided unanimously to choose representatives and send them to you, along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, who have risked their lives for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will tell you the same things by word of mouth. For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to impose on you no further burden than these essentials: that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from fornication. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell. (Acts 15:22-29)
    As is well known, Paul made a few adjustments to this outline, the most significant of which is the introduction of an extended thanksgiving at the start of the letters (with the notable exception of Galatians). A short example of the format of a Pauline letter would be the letter to Philemon.

    Introduction Paul and Timothy to Philemon, Apphia and Archippus, and the house Church.
    Thanksgiving This takes up vv.4-7.
    Text or body Various issues are raised in vv.8-18.
    Conclusion Practical arrangements and greetings are contained in vv.9-25.

    The passage from the Acts also tells us how private individuals managed to get letters to their desired destinations. There was no system for the distribution of letters, apart from the imperial postage system, which was limited to government functionaries. Ordinarily, if you wanted to send a letter from Alexandria in Egypt to Rome, you had to find someone making that journey across the Mediterranean and then hope they would be able to find the addressee and hand over the letter. Naturally, this was not always successful. The apostles entrusted the letter cited above to specific bearers, who had the additional task of expanding upon and explaining the contents. In the case of Paul, more recent research suggests that he had his own small administrative unit, made up of people he could send to a particular community with the task of elaboration. The example of Timothy being sent to see how the Thessalonians were faring illustrates this system. The letters do sometimes need explanation. (Somebody must have explained Galatians to the addresses!) Naturally, an administrative unit, however small, entails expenditure. Timothy would have had to have money for food and lodgings on the way. Given that the Thessalonians were notably poor, Paul may even have preferred that Timothy pay his own way while among them. The urgency and importance of the contents would surely have motivated Paul to make sure by means of a bearer who was also a fellow-worker that his advice really did reach, for example, the Corinthians.
    Paul wrote to persuade, and it should not surprise that the content of his letters was influenced by the training in speech-making that marked Greco-Roman culture. Today the word rhetoric conjures up the impression of empty show. It was not ever thus.

    THE RETHORIC OF THE LETTERS

    Because the culture was primarily an oral one, speech-making held an important place in public life. The areas of life particularly affected were politics, law and public celebrations. All three contexts called for persuasive, sometimes celebratory words. Given the power of speeches, it is natural that the school curriculum, such as it was, placed a strong emphasis on preparing the youth to take up roles in public life, primarily as politicians and lawyers. Handbooks were written and published at the time, and indeed, remarkably enough, ten of these handbooks from the time of Paul have survived, both in Greek and in Latin.
    The advice in the handbooks, at least in the earliest stages, was descriptive rather than prescriptive. The authors were saying, in effect: this is what works, so far as we can see. (Later on, a scholastic systematisation made the handbooks rather theoretical and prescriptive.) Some of the advice on rhetoric, defined as the art of speaking well, can help in following the arguments in Pauls letters. For example, the Rhetoricians noticed that constructing a speech involved five steps, which can, at least in theoretical reflection, be distinguished. First, the writer had to know what the core issue was and what would be the main or central focus of the speech. Paul does inform himself closely regarding the situation in Corinth, for instance, before making detailed responses. Second, the arguments needed to be placed in the most persuasive sequence. We will see in a moment that Paul does follow the advice on layout in this letter. Third, it was recommended to pay attention to the nature of the argument in each step and the beauty of the presentation. Metaphors, similes and rhythm were all possible embellishments. Fourth and fifth, they advised that you memorise and practice the speech. For the nature of this examination, the last two steps are not relevant, but the first three are. In particular the second step, the persuasive layout, can help a great deal in tracing the sequence of arguments across the letters.
    The persuasive layout began very simply: inform them of what you are going to say, and then say it. By the time Paul would have been at school, an elaborate reflection on effective persuasion had evolved. Every persuasion could have up to five distinct sections. A brief word about each step will be in order:

    1. The Introduction was designed to get the attention and good will of the hearers and make them well disposed towards the speaker.
    2. The Statement of Facts was essential in a criminal case, because it put before the court the evidence which was to be interpreted by the defence or prosecution. In the case of political or celebratory speeches it was not strictly necessary.
    3. The Thesis: what the speaker intended to prove. This could have been a single sentence or it might have been divided up into three (but not more!) parts.
    4. The various Proofsmade up the real body of the persuasion and it was possible to use a great variety of arguments , syllogisms, examples from the past, or the good character of the people involved and the like.
    5. The Conclusion had the function of summing up and synthesizing what had been said. It shared with the Introduction the function of gaining again the good will of the hearers. It was usually a little more emotional, because what strikes a chord with the heart stays longer in the memory.

    This sounds complicated and dr
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