Matthew Pawlak, "Sarcasm in Paul's Letters" (Cambridge UP, 2023)


In this recent monograph Sarcasm in Paul's Letters (Cambridge University Press 2023, Matthew Pawlak offers the first treatment of sarcasm in New Testament studies. He provides an extensive analysis of sarcastic passages across the undisputed letters of Paul, showing where Paul is sarcastic, and how his sarcasm affects our understanding of his rhetoric and relationships with the Early Christian congregations in Galatia, Rome, and Corinth. Pawlak's identification of sarcasm is supported by a dataset of 400 examples drawn from a broad range of ancient texts, including major case studies on Septuagint Job, the prophets, and Lucian of Samosata. These data enable the determination of the typical linguistic signals of sarcasm in ancient Greek, as well as its rhetorical functions. Pawlak also addresses several ongoing discussions in Pauline scholarship. His volume advances our understanding of the abrupt opening of Galatians, diatribe and Paul's hypothetical interlocutor in Romans, the 'Corinthian slogans' of First Corinthians, and the 'fool's speech' found within Second Corinthians 10-13.

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