Original Research - Special Collection: A.G.van Aarde Festschrift

Angels as arguments? The rhetorical function of references to angels in the Main Letters of Paul

D. Francois Tolmie
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 67, No 1 | a825 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v67i1.825 | © 2011 D. Francois Tolmie | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 April 2010 | Published: 11 April 2011

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D. Francois Tolmie, Faculty of Theology, University of the Free State, South Africa

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The issue investigated in this article is the rhetorical function fulfilled by the references to angels in the Main Letters of Paul. For this purpose all the references to angels in Galatians, 1 and 2 Corinthians and Romans are investigated systematically and thoroughly. This study shows that Paul never uses any of the references to angels as a main argument in these letters. Furthermore, it is shown that Paul refers to quite a variety of (possible) roles that angels might fulfil, or characteristics that angels possess. From a rhetorical perspective, it is evident that Paul mostly mentions angels in contexts that can broadly be typified as hyperbolic – in the sense that the extent or broad scope of the issue under discussion is emphasised.


Pauline Studies; Angels; Galatians; 1 Corinthians; 2 Corinthians; Romans


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