Bible & The Arts
Biblical Commentaries
Biblical Languages
Hebrew Bible / Old Testament
History of the Biblical Period
Literature of the Bible
New Testament
The Trauma Bible
Theology of the Bible
Bible Bibliographies
Bible in the Modern World
Biblical Reception
Classic Reprints
Critical Commentaries
Dictionary of Classical Hebrew
Dictionary of Classical Hebrew Revised
Earth Bible Commentary
Hebrew Bible Monographs
Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism
New Testament Monographs
Readings: A New Biblical Commentary
Recent Research in Biblical Studies
Text of the Hebrew Bible
The Social World of Biblical Antiquity, First Series
The Social World of Biblical Antiquity, Second Series
Click here for titles coming soon...
Click here to view the latest titles
Click here to view the complete catalogue
Search Books & Journals
About Us
For Authors
For Customers
Contact Us

xiii + 194 pp.

£35 / $60 / €50
List Price

£15 / $25 / €22.50

Larry J. Kreitzer

This latest volume in the Readings series offers a helpful guide to the shortest, and arguably the most personal, as well as enigmatic, of Paul's letters. It surveys the range of interpretations put forward over the years, and identifies the strengths and weaknesses in the traditional reading of Philemon as addressing the estrangement that has arisen between Paulís friend Philemon and his runaway slave Onesimus.

Recent alternatives to this reading are assessed, with particular attention to the light they shed on Paul's own attitude to slavery and his understanding of reconciliation. Historically, the Letter to Philemon has been the focus of much debate between abolitionists and pro-slavery advocates, and the use made of the Letter in the 18th and 19th centuries is here uniquely chronicled. In addition, the story of Onesimus and Philemon, as traditionally conceived, had a great appeal to writers of historical fiction, and a number of examples of that genre are summarized. The book also highlights the way in which Philemon has featured in filmic treatments of Paul's life, including a new and fascinating film in Arabic entitled The Runaway (2006).

The volume offers an excellent introduction, not only to the main historical and critical issues raised by Philemon, but also to the rich legacy that the Letter has created for subsequent generations of readers who remain fascinated by the subtlety of its depiction of human relationships.

Larry J. Kreitzer is Tutor of New Testament and Tutor for Graduates, Regent's Park College, Oxford.

Series: Readings: A New Biblical Commentary
978-1-906055-29-5 hardback / 978-1-906055-30-1 paperback
Publication April 2008

This volume is an excellent example of a current trend in New Testament studies towards analysis of the use of biblical text in popular culture and politics (as well as analysis of reception history or biblical 'afterlives'). Kreitzer, long at the vanguard of such work, has produced a commentary that is very much a writing of the moment, an excellent encapsulation of the state of the field at present and the interest of the contemporary scholar and reader. Robert Paul Seesengood, The Bible and Critical Theory.