New book on Philemon

Paul’s letter to Philemon is one of my favorites, and one of those I am gathering some material about. One day I might even write something myself regarding it. But now there is a new book coming out from De Gruyter:

Philemon in Perspective.
Interpreting a Pauline Letter
Ed. by Tolmie, D. Francois
Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft und die Kunde der älteren Kirche 169
2010 | Hardcover | RRP Euro [D] 99.95 / for USA, Canada, Mexico US$ 140.00. ISBN 978-3-11-022173-2

A table of contents can be found here, and the publisher presents it thus:
“This book is dedicated entirely to the interpretation of Paul’s Letter to Philemon. The letter is approached from a wide variety of perspectives, thus yielding several new insights into its interpretation. In a first essay the tendencies in the research on the letter since 1980 are outlined. This is followed by essays devoted to the epistolary analysis and to a rhetorical-psychological interpretation of the letter; as well as an essay devoted to the rhetorical function of stylistic form in the letter. After this there are two essays devoted to situating the letter in its ancient context: one views the letter against the background of ancient legal and documentary sources and another one against the background of slavery in early Christianity. The next two essays focus on theological aspects, namely on the letter as ethical counterpart of Paul’s doctrine of justification and on the role that love plays in the letter. Three essays focus on ideological issues: the contextual interpretation of the letter in the US, a post-colonial reading of the letter and the letter’s legacy of hierarchy and obedience. The volume concludes with four essays on the way in which the letter was interpreted by the some of the Church Fathers: Origen, Jerome, Chrystostom, Augustine and Theodore of Mopsuestia.”

Philemon readings

I have now posted to my review of

Larry J. Kreitzer

(Readings: A New Biblical Commentary
Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2008
It will probably appear there in 2-3 months.

I personally found this book very helpful, and I think it will be useful too as an introduction to the letter to Philemon both for students of the New Testament and for lay people in general. I especially appreciate his integration of scholarly New Testament studies with a presentation of the letter’s ‘wirkungsgeschichte’ in literature and film. The present volume is the seventh in a series called “Readings: A New Biblical Commentary.” The publisher does not state who are the intended readers of the series. If the other volumes are tailored in the same way as this one, they might very well serve a wide range of readers, and spark an interest in a further reading of the biblical text itself. And that, in my view, is no small purpose and reward at all.