Re: predicate adjectives (and Philemon)

From: Edward Hobbs (
Date: Wed Feb 05 1997 - 15:01:53 EST

From: LUCY::EHOBBS "Edward Hobbs" 5-FEB-1997 14:59:45.27
To: IN%""
Subj: RE: predicate adjectives

Perry Stepp wrote, in reply to Jim Oxford:
"A personal letter"? ". . . to Philemon . . ., to Apphia . . ., to
Archippus . . ., and to the church that meets in your home" (Phm 1.1).
That doesn't sound like a personal letter to me.

(Edward Hobbs now:)
        "Personal letter" -- look more closely, and it proves to be a mixed
case. Certainly Paul addresses the letter to three individuals, one of
whom is the owner of Onesimus, also the home-owner where the church meets
(note the SOU in v. 2). He wants it to be read to the church-group. BUT:
the entire remainder of the letter is addressed to the owner in the second
person singular, even, oddly, the greetings from Paul's fellow prisoner and
fellow-workers. Only Paul's hope for the prayers of "y'all" (v.22) and the
final grace (v.25) are addressed to any but the owner.
        It really IS personal, but intended to be read to everyone in the
church (as a means of putting pressure on the slave-owner, surely).
(Perry again:)

"To Timothy, my true son in the faith" (1 Tim 1.1). That sounds more like
a personal letter, although it impresses me as possibly being the opening
of an "open" personal letter.
(EH:) Just like Philemon, huh?

Perhaps our impression of Philemon as a personal letter is based more on
our knowledge of its contents, and our impression of how we would feel if
someone read such a letter publicly if we were Philemon (or Apphia--don't
the subscriptions in many manuscripts indicate that many scribes thought
her to be the master of Onesimus?), than what's in the text. (How's that
for tortured English?)
        With John Knox, I believe Archippus to be the owner, and Philemon
the pastor ("fellow-worker"), and Apphia (less certainly) co-pastor. See
his "Philemon Among the Letters of Paul," a little gem. It is because of
the beauty of this proposal that I have always hoped that Colossians could
be shown to be by Paul, or at least Ch. 4, since it would clinch it!

Never heard of the "Apphia" subscriptions, and never seen it in any MS. If
they exist, could a list of the MSS. be posted? That would be very
interesing indeed.

Incidentally, I was quite taken with Jim Oxford's use of the term phrase
"come from the Canonical Paul"! Being myself a devout Anglican, committed
to the Canon as "inspired and profitable", but not committed to making
further historical judgments about just which individual wrote each document
in it, I find this phrase may state just what I want to say. My thanks to
Jim for his coinage.

Edward Hobbs

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