The New Testament

A Historical and Theological Introduction


22. Letters in the Hellenistic World

Questions for Review

  1. Why is it important to understand Hellenistic letters generally with regard to the study of the NT?
  2. Explain the distinction that Deissmann makes between epistles and letters. In which category do Paul’s writings fit, according to Deissmann?
  3. What is the basic form of a Hellenistic letter?
  4. How are the structures of a Pauline letter and a Hellenistic letter similar?
  5. What are some of the aspects of Paul’s letters that set them apart from Hellenistic letters?
  6. Of the other documents in the NT considered to be letters or epistles, how many fit well within the Hellenistic letter form?
  7. What do the terms “general” and “catholic” indicate about certain letters and/or epistles in the NT?
  8. How is the word “rhetoric” used within this chapter?
  9. How is the probatio section of a Hellenistic letter sometimes subdivided?
  10. What are the three basic types of rhetorical discourse?