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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Paul's Utilization of Preformed Traditions in 1 Timothy: An Evaluation of the Apostle's Literary, Rhetorical, and Theological Tactics
Yarbrough, Mark M.

New York: T&T Clark, 2009 pp. xiv + 226. $120.00

Series Information
Library of New Testament Studies, 417


Description: Mark Yarbrough assesses the question of whether traditional 'preformed' material contributes to the message and understanding of Paul's first letter to Timothy. The issue is addressed in three sections. Part one evaluates previous works interacting with 'traditional' material in the New Testament. Through a critique of historically proposed criteria, Yarbrough identifies eight criteria as the primary tools by which to discern units of preformed material. In the second part of the book Yarbrough evaluates nineteen passages in "1 Timothy" according to the criteria previously determined. From this base he embraces twelve of the nineteen passages as preformed material. These passages are subsequently examined in depth according to the author's distinct methodology. Part three demonstrates four functions of the preformed traditions in "1 Timothy". Firstly, that they may be seen as strengthening the literary cohesion of the letter. Secondly, that the traditional units afford the author rhetorical leverage which may be best identified as the provision of authority, the establishment of an instant rapport with the primary audience, and the assistance conferred in addressing this implied audience. Thirdly, they present theological directives that confront the character and belief of the false teachers. Finally, Yarbrough asserts that the preformed traditions exist as a combatant against counter-mission doctrine. In conclusion, this study displays that the traditional material which may be discerned within the letter contributes significantly to the overall message and understanding of "1 Timothy". Formerly the "Journal for the Study of the New Testament Supplement", a book series that explores the many aspects of New Testament study including historical perspectives, social-scientific and literary theory, and theological, cultural and contextual approaches. "The Early Christianity in Context" series, a part of "JSNTS", examines the birth and development of early Christianity up to the end of the third century CE. The series places Christianity in its social, cultural, political and economic context. European Seminar on Christian Origins and "Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus Supplement" are also part of "JSNTS".

Subjects: Bible, New Testament, Pauline Epistles, Literature

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Review by Korinna Zamfir
Published 4/5/2011
Citation: Korinna Zamfir, review of Mark M. Yarbrough, Paul's Utilization of Preformed Traditions in 1 Timothy: An Evaluation of the Apostle's Literary, Rhetorical, and Theological Tactics, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2011).


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