Biblical Studies Division


New Testament


Jeff Weima


Mariano Avila

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Theology (Th.M)


Pauline letter, Anticipatory function, Ancient Greek, Grace, Peace


This thesis argues that the Pauline letter opening has an anticipatory function alongside its relational role. This anticipatory function is a development of the epistolary features found in the ancient Greek letter openings. After the introductory chapter, is provided an analysis of form and function of ancient (III BCE to III CE) Greek letter prescripts. Chapters 3 and 4 provide a formal and functional analysis of the Pauline letter prescripts. The conclusion is that the anticipatory function works in two ways in the Pauline letters. First, Paul encapsulates his theology in the expression ‘grace to you and peace’ and uses it in the beginning of his letters, as did Plato and Epicurus who also coined their own greetings to communicate their philosophies. Second, Paul changes elements in the prescripts of all his undisputed letters to anticipate specific themes developed in the letter body.



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