Letters and Homilies for Hellenized Christians: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on 1-2 Peter, By Ben Witherington III
Letters and Homilies for Hellenized Christians
  • Length: 432 pages
  • Dimensions: 6 × 9 in
  • Published: May 12, 2016
  • Imprint: IVP Academic
  • Item Code: 2463
  • ISBN: 9780830824632

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Letters and Homilies for Hellenized Christians, Volume 2 is the one of two volumes extending Ben Witherington's innovative socio-rhetorical analysis of New Testament books to the latter-Pauline and non-Pauline corpora. By dividing the volumes according to the socioreligious contexts for which they were written, Witherington sheds fresh light on the documents, their provenance, character and importance.

Throughout, Witherington shows his thorough knowledge of recent literature on these texts and focuses his attention on the unique insights brought about through socio-rhetorical analysis that either reinforces or corrects those gleaned from other approaches.

"Bridging the Horizons" sections point to the relevance of the text for believers today, making this volume of special value to pastors and general readers as well as to students and scholars.

"Witherington writes clearly, interacting with other scholarly viewpoints in a fair manner and providing the reader with a thoughtful and theologically rich commentary."

The Bible Today, March 2008

"This commentary format allows Witherington to showcase his greatest strengths as an exegete—his familiarity with ancient rhetoric, his vast knowledge of both Greco-Roman and Jewish backgrounds, and his keen and creative historical imagination."

Kelly David Liebengood, Midwestern Journal of Theology, Fall 2008


General Introduction to 1 and 2 Peter

1 Peter

Introduction to 1 Peter
Reading 1 Peter in Its Social Milieu
The Greek Style and Rhetoric of 1 Peter
Greek Style and Asianism
The Structure of 1 Peter
The Peter of the New Testament and Early Christian History
Bibliography for 1 Peter
1 Peter
1 Peter 1:1-2, Epistolary Prescript: Alien Nation
1 Peter 1:3-12, Exordium: Suffering Now, Salvation Later A Closer Look: The Theologizing of Peter
1 Peter 1:13-16, Propositio: You Have a Hope, So Be Holy
1 Peter 1:17-2:10, Argument 1: Live as Redeemed Resident Aliens A Closer Look: Recycled Ideas, Peter's Sermons in Acts and 1 Peter
1 Peter 2:11-3:12, Argument 2: Submission to Authority Figures A Closer Look: Domestic Slavery and First Peter
1 Peter 3:13-4:11, Argument 3: Suffering and Self-Control A Closer Look: Ascending Enoch; Jesus and Falling Spirits
1 Peter 4:12-19, Argument 4: Suffering and Glory
1 Peter 5:1-5, Argument 5: Appeal to the Elders and Younger Ones A Closer Look: Leadership Structures in the Early Church
1 Peter 5:6-11, Peroratio: Between the Mighty Hand of God and the Roaring Satanic Lion A Closer Look: Christians Having the Devil of a Time
1 Peter 5:12-14, Epistolary Postscript: A "Brief" Conclusion
Bridging the Horizons

2 Peter

Introduction to 2 Peter
The Rhetoric of 2 Peter
The Social Location of 2 Peter
Bibliography for 2 Peter
2 Peter
2 Peter 1:1-2, Epistolary Prescript: Inclusive Language
2 Peter 1:3-11, Exordium: Manifesting Virtues, Making Firm One?s Calling, Sharing in the Divine Nature A Closer Look: The Christian Face of Virtue
2 Peter 1:12-21, Lively Testimony from a Dead Apostle
1 Peter 2:1-22, False Teachers Past and Present A Closer Look: How Was 2 Peter Composed? Elementary, My Dear Watson
2 Peter 3:1-13, Last Argument About the Last Things
2 Peter 3.14-18, Peroratio and Concluding Doxology: Forewarned Is Forearmed A Closer Look: Theologizing out of the Apostolic Tradition for the Postapostolic Age
Bridging the Horizons
Final Reflections: Letters and Homilies from the Last Third of the First Century A.D.

Index of Authors
Index of Ancient Sources


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Ben Witherington III

Ben Witherington III (PhD, University of Durham) is a prominent evangelical scholar and Jean R. Amos Professor of New Testament for Doctoral Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary. Witherington has written over forty books, including The Jesus Quest and The Paul Quest, both of which were selected as top biblical studies works by Christianity Today. His other works include The Indelible Image, Women and the Genesis of Christianity, The Gospel Code, A Week in the Life of Corinth, and commentaries on the entire New Testament. He also writes for many church and scholarly publications and is a frequent contributor to Patheos and Beliefnet.

Witherington is an elected member of the prestigious Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas, a society dedicated to New Testament studies. He is a John Wesley Fellow for Life, a research fellow at Cambridge University, and a member of numerous professional organizations, including the Society of Biblical Literature, Society for the Study of the New Testament, and the Institute for Biblical Research. He previously taught at institutions like Ashland Theological Seminary, Vanderbilt University, Duke Divinity School, and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.

An ordained pastor in the United Methodist Church and a popular lecturer, Witherington has presented seminars for churches, colleges, and biblical meetings around the world. He has led numerous study tours through the lands of the Bible and is known for bringing the text to life through incisive historical and cultural analysis. Along with many interviews on radio and television networks across the country, Witherington has been seen in programs such as 60 Minutes, 20/20, Dateline, and the Peter Jennings ABC special Jesus and Paul—The Word and the Witness.

Read Witherington's Patheos blog The Bible and Culture.