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Modules 6 & 7: Class Notes

Here's the next set of notes on Reconciliation and Consolation: 

Module 6 – Reconciliation

Practice of not naming the person who hurt you is wide spread in conciliatory letters.
Perfect Tense: Present condition b/c of past event.

Physical pain and emotional pain had no different words, descriptions.

Stoics, etc., thought that a wise person could have no relationship to pain.

2 Cor. 1:11 – not outwitted, but defrauded. Indicates the person’s loss in community would have had an economic impact.

2 Cor. 7:12 – adikeo – injustice, legal wrong
2 Cor. 12: 16 – panourgos – capable of any work (of wrongdoing)

Paul is being accused of embezzling the offering for the poor in Jerusalem through means of Titus and his ‘brother’ – this accusation is the wrong done against Paul that has caused him so much pain.

Francis Watson: 2 Cor. 10:2, then v. 7 – switches from some people to someone. Why? Paul’s emphasis on cross?

10:10 Again, should say “Someone says” but not “They say” – this is an individual accusation.
Words here are technical terms – a forceful style of writing, Demosthenes noted for. Person admires Paul’s letters, but is weak in person.
:11 “Let this one” – not let such people, plural.

Best trans: New English Bible

Is this someone the owner of the house, the host of the ekklesia, so everyone was silent – not agreeing with, but not disagreeing with Paul’s accuser.

Paul lays out here his model of reconciliation.

Paul’s strategy for reconciling wrongdoer: (Deals with him first, victim after)
1) Acknowledgement (2 Cor. 2:5) Someone has caused pain, pain is received. This step is so difficult – people can’t do it.
2) Discern a sufficient discipline/censure/reproof – not even just – only sufficient. We’re so uncomfortable with this! Squeamish! We don’t dare discipline anymore. Paul suggests that without this step to restore a right balance, can’t really go forward/move on.
3) Forgive and console. Literally give gift/grace, and call alongside. We’re with them, not above them.
4) Resolve/ratify to love – you may never like the person. This is an effort of will. MLK: “Aren’t you glad Jesus didn’t say “Like your enemies?”
5) Understand that forgiveness is obedience – we have to do it.

Paul’s strategy for those who were wronged/his emotional therapy for victims:
(2 Cor. 7:9 – Paul is almost unique in saying that there is something godly in pain. Socrates is the only other writer who says this.)
2 Cor. 7:11 – A list of stages you have to pass through to heal from pain

1) Earnestness – spoude – Get up and go-ness
2) Eager to clear – apologia
3) Indignation – aganaktesis – anger
4) Alarm – phobos – fear/alarm
5) Longing – epopothe^sis – deep down longing
6) Zeal – zelos – burning
7) Justice – ekdikesis – restore balance/justice

This isn’t elsewhere before Paul! Unique to him.


Module 7: Consolation

1 Thessalonians 40/41 AD
Earliest Christian and Pauline writing – experimental quality in Christian letter-writing

Paul is dealing with death, and is writing, perhaps, on the occasion of the death of an important community member in the Thessalonians’ community.

“Correspondence” portion of letter (chapters 1-3) – relationship maintenance portion of book.
“Content” is in chapters 4 & 5.: Now concerning, now concerning, now concerning…

Disclosure formula: “Ou thelomen humas agnoein, adelphoi” (1 Thess 4:13) occurs thousands of time in papyrus letters. Like the subject lines in our emails. RE: This formula marks what follow as the real reason the letter is written.

Paul doesn’t say who died, but his metaphors are like windows: open to social realities of world, open in to writer’s heart.

2:7 We were like a nursing mother caring for her child
2:17 We were orphans
Metaphors suggest that the mother, matriarch of the community is the one who died.

2:11-12 Model for consolation? Call alongside, tell stories, bear witness

Tombstones: me^ lupe^sthe: stop grieving – because: ____ argument. (I no longer have toils, troubles, stop cutting yourself for Hades turns pity aside)

Lattimore: Themes in Greek and Latin Epitaphs – mainly a sceptical, if any, belief in afterlife. A couple, like Plato and Plutarch, believe in survival of souls.

Ouk e^men, genome^n, ouk esometha melei, ho bios tauta.
I was not, I came into existence, I will not be in the future. Such is life.”

“Oh dear heart, what is down there?” “Much darkness.” “What’s up there?” “It’s a lie.” “What about Pluto?” “Myth.” “We are destroyed.”

“Suns set, and are able to rise, but our brief light, when it goes under: night is perpetual. One sleep.”

Most frequently occurring genre in Greek/Roman literature is the letter of consolation.

1 Thess. 1:2: “remembering you” is like memorial – funeral.

Adialeipto^s – not at all leaving/left behind (constantly) – three times.

Kai ho Heracles apethanon. Even Hercules died. (2nd most common tombstone inscription.)

Hoti ie^sous apethanen: If then Jesus died… But Paul adds Kai Aneste^: and rose! Revolution!

Harpazo^ - “snatched up” = death euphemism in tombstones, but Paul makes it metaphor for snatched up to heaven with God and loved ones.

1 Thess. 4:17 – Hama sun – “together with with,” opposing separation images – not survival of individual, but communion of saints. 


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