A Socio-rhetorical Interpretation of the Letter to Philemon in Light of the New Institutional Economics: An Exhortation to Transform a Master-Slave Economic Relationship into a Brotherly Loving Relationship
Hon Ho Ip, Alex
TŁbingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2017 pp. xviii + 246. $126.00
Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament, 2/444
Description: In this study, Alex Hon Ho Ip argues that when Paul wrote to Philemon about Onesimus, his main purpose was not to try and reunite, as is widely held, a runaway slave with his master, but rather to have Onesimus accepted as a beloved brother in Christ. By examining the letter's inner texture, the author shows that Paul's main concern was for Philemon and Onesimus to be reconciled in brotherly love. The inter-textual weave reveals Paul's theological and ethical thoughts on love, which is the basis for the apostle's main argument. By taking a new institutional economics approach to help reconstruct the economic relationship between slave and master, Alex Hon Ho Ip is able to offer a better understanding of the original relationship Paul argued against. With all this in mind, the focus is on re-reading the letter and hearing how Paul's rhetoric exhorts a new relationship between Onesimus and Philemon.
Subjects: Bible, New Testament, Pauline Epistles, Philemon, Literature, Methods, Literary Approaches, Rhetorical Criticism
Review by Demetrius K. Williams
Citation: Demetrius K. Williams, review of Alex Hon Ho Ip, A Socio-rhetorical Interpretation of the Letter to Philemon in Light of the New Institutional Economics: An Exhortation to Transform a Master-Slave Economic Relationship into a Brotherly Loving Relationship, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2019).
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