We worked night and day that we might not burden any of you (1 Thessalonians 2:9) : aspects of the portrayal of work in the Letters of Paul, late Second Temple Judaism, the Græco-Roman world and early Christianity
In recent years, a prolific amount of books and articles on Paul have sought to bring Paul's life and theology into new light. This dissertation is an investigation into an aspect of Paul's life and thought which has remained little discussed in secondary literature, even when as of late, the social world of Paul has been in more focus — that of Paul's portrayal of manual work, and Ins use of the imagery of the workplace (ideas of toil, labour, weakness, slavery, economics, and so on). The thesis contributes to our understanding of what may have affected the portrayal of work in Paul's thought by surveying all the available evidence, and secondly, it concludes by way of providing a balance to the studies of Hock and others, that Paul's portrayal of work was derived from his Jewish heritage as well as his Graeco-Roman context. The first chapter introduces the subject, surveys previous research to demonstrate the need for the present study, and sets out the broader context of the literature to be examined. Chapter two considers the Jewish evidence. Two ways of looking at work are identified. Firstly, the portrayal of God as worker is examined and secondly, the portrayal of human work is discussed. These themes shape chapter three which discusses the Graeco-Roman evidence, and Chapter four which examines the non-Pauline Christian material. Chapter five considers the portrayal of work in the Pauline letters, cross-referencing with the previous chapters where relevant. The final chapter summarises the conclusions that are drawn from the evidence and outlines their implications for current scholarship in Paul.