Original Research - Special Collection: Old and New Testament Studies

Abraham Malherbe se bydrae tot Hellenistiese filosofie en die vroeë Christendom

Johan C. Thom
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 71, No 1 | a2996 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v71i1.2996 | © 2015 Johan C. Thom | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 07 April 2015 | Published: 31 August 2015

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Johan C. Thom, Department of Ancient Studies, Stellenbosch University, South Africa

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Abraham Malherbe’s contribution to Hellenistic philosophy and early Christianity. Abraham J. Malherbe was one of the most influential New Testament scholars of the past half century. He is especially known for his use of Hellenistic moral philosophy in the interpretation of New Testament texts, especially Pauline literature. Whilst the comparative study of New Testament and Greco-Roman material remains a contentious approach in scholarship, Malherbe’s work provides important pointers in how to make such comparisons in a meaningful and reasoned manner, by paying due respect to the integrity of the texts being compared and to the function textual elements have within their own contexts. I discussed the salient features of Malherbe’s approach, focusing in particular on his study of topoi. One of the most significant findings was Malherbe’s emphasis on the dialectical combination of common and individual elements in such topoi, which enabled ancient authors to embed their own texts within the cultural discourse of their time. His approach opens the way to further research of the New Testament within its philosophical context without requiring proof of a genealogical relationship between the texts or authors concerned.


Malherbe; Methodology; New Testament Scholarship; Comparative Study; Topoi


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