Letters of Paul

Thessalonians 1 & 2

Saints Peter and John Healing the Lame Man Nicolas Poussin 1655

These letters are shorter than some Pauline writings and sometimes do not receive the attention that Romans and Corinthians get.  However, the first letter to the Thessalonians is likely the earliest written description of the Christian movement.  Paul was hard at work in his missionary activity and had not yet needed to respond to issues which arose in evolving communities.  Therefore, he focuses on eschatological hope which was an important characteristic of the early Christian movement.  Reflecting on this writing is certainly helpful for today’s Christians, seeking the hope promised by the life and death of Jesus.

The second letter to the Thessalonians may be an original from Paul, or more likely, a later writing by a disciple of Paul.  Again, a review of the hope of Jesus’ return is likely to be a help in today’s Christian understanding. The two letters to the Thessalonians help to understand hope with patience regarding Jesus’ return.

Presenters

David Bartlett headshot Rev. Dr. David L. Bartlett

Rev. Dr. David L. Bartlett, who passed away in 2017, was the J. Edward and Ruth Cox Lantz Professor Emeritus of Christian Communication at Yale Divinity School and Distinguished Professor Emeritus of New Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary. A graduate of Swarthmore College and Yale University, Prof. Bartlett was the author of numerous publications including Fact and Faith, The Shape of Scriptural Authority, Between the Bible and the Church, and What’s Good About This News? Preaching from the Gospels and Galatians, among others. He was also the co-editor of the Westminster Bible Companion and Feasting on the Word commentary series. An ordained minister in the American Baptist Churches, USA, Prof. Bartlett served as the Senior Minister for congregations in Minnesota, Illinois, and California.

Dr. Harold W. Attridge

Dr. Harold W. Attridge is the Sterling Professor of Divinity at Yale Divinity School. Professor Attridge, dean of Yale Divinity School from 2002 to 2012, has made scholarly contributions to New Testament exegesis and to the study of Hellenistic Judaism and the history of the early Church. His publications include Essays on John and Hebrews, Hebrews: A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, First-Century Cynicism in the Epistles of Heraclitus, The Interpretation of Biblical History in the Antiquitates Judaicae of Flavius Josephus, Nag Hammadi Codex I: The Jung Codex, and The Acts of Thomas, as well as numerous book chapters and articles in scholarly journals.

He has edited twelve books, most recently, with Dale Martin and Jurgen Zangenberg, Religion, Ethnicity and Identity in Ancient Galilee; and The Religion and Science Debate: Why Does It Continue? Professor Attridge is the general editor of the HarperCollins Study Bible Revised Edition (2006).

He has been an editorial board member of Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Harvard Theological Review, Journal of Biblical Literature, Novum Testamentum, and the Hermeneia commentary series. He has been active in the Society of Biblical Literature and served as president of the society in 2001. Professor Attridge is a fellow of Saybrook College.

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