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Paul's Letter to the Philippians
A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary

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POD; Published: 10/6/2011
ISBN: 978-0-8028-0143-2
Price: $ 39.50
342 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6.14 x 9.21
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Interprets Paul's letter in light of its rhetorical content and cultural context

Paul's short, affectionate letter to the Philippians has been much belabored of late by biblical scholars keen to analyze it in light of Greco-Roman letter-writing conventions. Yet Ben Witherington argues that Philippians shouldn't be read as a letter at all but, rather, as a masterful piece of long-distance oratory -- an extension of Paul's oral speech, dictated to a scribe and meant to be read aloud to its recipients.

With this in mind, Witherington analyzes Philippians in light of Greco-Roman rhetorical conventions, identifying Paul's purpose, highlighting his main points and his persuasive strategies, and considering how his audience -- denizens of a society of limited literacy yet saturated in highly skilled oral rhetoric -- would have heard and received Paul's message.

Read a blog post by Witherington about the book on EerdWord.
Todd D. Still
-- Truett Seminary, Baylor University
"When a commentator of Ben Witherington's skill, experience, and stature turns his learned eye and directs his limpid prose to Paul's beloved letter to the Philippians, expectations are exceedingly high. This latest installment in Witherington's socio-rhetorical commentary series does not disappoint. . . . His commentary on Philippians is a substantial, serious work that will occupy a place on my bookshelf alongside Bockmuehl and Fee. It is among the finest full-length commentaries presently available in English."
Jerry L. Sumney
-- Lexington Theological Seminary
"Drawing on an impressive range of interpreters (including those who have critiqued his previous work), Ben Witherington provides a careful and helpful reading of Philippians and the issues it addresses. His lucid prose guides both beginning and practiced readers through the argumentative function of each section, consistently affirming that rhetorical criticism is the most appropriate lens for reading Paul's work. At the same time, Witherington's socio-rhetorical method leads him to highlight the ways that seeing the letter in its Greco-Roman and Macedonian social and cultural contexts enriches our understanding. . . . This commentary is certain to become a work that students and teachers will refer to often."
Biblical Theology Bulletin
"This commentary offers readers an introduction to Philippians that would be useful in the context of upper division undergraduate as well as beginning seminary courses."
"There is much to commend about this commentary. Witherington's interpretations are solid and balanced. . . . His insights will surely be valuable to Christian readers of all traditions. . . . This commentary combines right insights into the text with gifted writing. It will be a fine addition to the library of students, pastors, and teachers."
Bulletin for Biblical Research
"Given the breadth of Witherington's knowledge of ancient and modern sources, the wisdom of his pastoral insights, and the liveliness of his prose, this commentary belongs on the shelves of many in the church and in the academy."