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Brill's Ancient Philosophical Commentary on the Pauline Writings

Series Editor: George van Kooten, University of Groningen. Published by Brill, Leiden/Boston

Brill's Ancient Philosophical Commentary on the Pauline Writings is part of the new Ancient Philosophy & Religion series and consists of commentaries that draw attention to the continuous engagement of Paul of Tarsus with the philosophical discourse of his day. This discourse was characterized both by ongoing discussions among the multifarious philosophical schools, and by a strong connection to religious concerns. The cities of Tarsus and Antioch in Cilicia and Syria, where Paul spent much of his time before he started to found communities in Galatia, Macedonia, Achaia and Asia, were known for the strong presence of philosophers. Among modern scholars there is an increasing awareness of the way in which Paul's ideas about ethics, anthropology, cosmology and social issues reflect those expressed by the philosophers of his day. This is why it is very useful to explore to what extent Paul's letters can be read consistently from a philosophical perspective.

Philosophers' dialogue from the 'House of Proclus'; used with courtesy and permission of the Acropolis Museum, Athens

Brill's Ancient Philosophical Commentary on the Pauline Writings provides relevant parallells to the Pauline writings from the full scope of ancient philosophy, with an emphasis on Hellenistic-Roman philosophical traditions contemporary with Paul. Each parallel is provided with short comments offering context, discussion and bibliography. An integrative commentary addresses the insights offered by the ancient philosophical parallels for the Pauline section under consideration. Work on Vol. 1: The Letter to the Romans has begun, and it is expected to be published in 2020/21.


The intended audience consists of theologians, historians of religion, classicists, philosophers, and all those interested in the development of Hellenistic-Roman philosophy and the interchange between the Graeco-Roman world and Paul of Tarsus, one of the most influential early Christian thinkers. The multi-layered design, with comments on both the ancient philosophical and Pauline texts, renders the series accessible to a wide audience.

Last modified:03 January 2022 09.52 a.m.