Re: secular quotations in Paul

From: kdlitwak (
Date: Tue Apr 08 1997 - 01:51:36 EDT

I haven't done this, and know of no work which has (here's a
dissertation topic for someone besides me, since I'm probably not
writing one), but one approach would be to look for intertextual
"echoes" of non-biblical literature in Paul's CORPUS. Not being that
well-versed in calssics I can't hink of any place, but that could be
merely the issue of whether a modern person can hear the echo. Paul's
use of Hellenistic rhetorical approaches (mixed to an uncertain extent I
think with Jewish rhetorical practice) is an evidence of some classical
knowledge on Paul's part I think, but then that depends upon how
ingrained the principles of "rhetoric" were in Paul's cultural space.
Some, such as Tolbert, argue that a knowledgeof rhetoric was ubiquitous.
I am not convinced that the empirical data exists to demonstrate this,
but again, I'm not a classicist (I can't even tell anymore when a
classical writer is writing history or fiction, or if that's even a
meaningful distinction anymore -- I used to know). Anyway, you could
read Paul listening for "echos of classics in Paul" with due apologies
to Richard Hays, who wrote a MUST-READ book on echoes of Scripture.

Ken Litwak
Graduate Theological Union
Berserkely, CA

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