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1 Peter and Paraenetic Strategies

December 2009
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SBL’s Bookreviews.org has another set of reviews being published, among them one on a book on Paraenetic Strategies in 1 Peter. Trying to keep up with some readings on recent works on 1 Peter, these reviews are of good help.

Dryden, J. de Waal,
Theology and Ethics in 1 Peter: Paraenetic Strategies for Christian Character Formation
Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament, 2/209
Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2006 pp. xi + 226. €49.00

The review-work is done by John H Elliott; another guy who never quits his interest in 1 Peter. He has some praises for the work, but also some rather critical comments:

“Certain aspects of the study make it a productive contribution to the discussion of the moral exhortation of 1 Peter. The discussion of paraenesis and paraenetic letters in the Greco-Roman sources contributes to our understanding of this frequently employed but
rarely defined concept. Comments on the theology and ethical content of the letter are generally on target, summarizing key points of scholarly agreement and disagreement in an accurate and fair manner. Dryden adeptly lays out the modes of the letter’s moral
instruction and its integration with the community’s theological tradition and worldview. The study, however, is plagued by a fatal flaw that unfortunately is its chief premise and arguing point, that the letter’s chief aim is the character formation of individual believers and that Hellenistic paraenetic letters are its closest literary analogue. Paraenesis, as defined by Dryden and as already noted, has individuals, not collectivities, in view. It is aimed at individuals and their individual moral growth. First Peter, however, like most New Testament writings, addresses not individuals alone but as members of groups and households of dispersed people claiming a common allegiance to a common cause.”

I would find it strange if Dryden did not see these two aspects, paraenesis aiming at both individuals and the individuals as members of a group. I get s certain feeling, however, that Dryden is overemphasizing the individual aspects, while Elliott has a preference for the collectivistic.

But, by all means, I have not read the book yet, and might be totally wrong. Hence, I should read it for myself first.

You can find the rest of the review here:http://www.bookreviews.org/pdf/7248_7887.pdf


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