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date: 27 October 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Paul’s letters address the particular situations of first-century audiences. Mirror-reading, as exemplified in Galatians scholarship, is fraught with potential difficulties and must be executed cautiously. The Thessalonians received Paul’s apocalyptic message in a social situation of conflict and alienation. The First Letter to the Corinthians admonished unity in the gospel for a fragmented congregation. Interpreters of Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians grapple with whether this is a single letter or multiple letters and the proper ordering of the chapters. Reconstructions of the Roman situation often assume erroneously that Paul is writing to a mixed community of Jews and Gentiles after a mass expulsion and return of the Jewish communities. Philippians, a single letter, primarily addresses a conflict between two women. Philemon is not an attempted reconciliation of a runaway slave to his master but an explanation of the need for further assistance from a changed man.

Keywords: mirror-reading, situation, occasion, audience, Galatians, Philemon

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