Monday, January 31, 2011

Teaching Thessalonians: Any suggestions for a textbook?

I am preparing my syllabus for the spring term during which I will teach Greek exegesis of 1 & 2 Thessalonians. The class will translate a chapter a week as well as prepare a series of exegetical observations and exercises. Although I have taught the course a number of times, I am giving it some fresh attention because I am using it as prep work for the commentary I am writing on these two epistles. What I am unsure of, however, is what to use for a textbook.

I will require them to purchase at least one commentary. They will be able to choose from Fee, Malherbe or Wannamaker. They will also have a selection or articles and essays to read. But I am unsure of what to adopt as the primary textbook. I am considering DonFried's Paul Thessalonica and Early Christianity, but have not made a final decision.

Are there any suggestions from others? Are you aware of or have used a particular book that will give good introductory coverage of these two letters? I would be happy to hear your suggestions for either a textbook or any readings that you think would be helpful.


  1. Hi John

    In teaching the Thessalonian letters, I used Donfried's contribution on Thessalonians for THE SHORTER PAULINE EPISTLES: NEW TESTAMENT THEOLOGY (Cambridge). I would also highly recommend Green's Pillar New Testament Commentary, which is very thorough and helpful. Wanamaker and Green were the two commentaries preferred by my students. Many of them also enjoyed Malherbe's little book, PAUL AND THE THESSALONIANS.

    Enjoy teaching Thessalonians, 1 Thess. is one of my favourite Pauline epistles.

    Sean du Toit

  2. This makes me wish I could go back to school. Tina Hunt

  3. My colleague here at NOBTS is teaching 1 Thess, using Beale and Martin, of which Martin is required. But this is for the undergraduate level.

    Jim Leonard

  4. If we're going back to Malherbe's 1987 book (and some of Donfried's essays are hardly recent), then how about Robert Jewett, The Thessalonian Correspondence (Fortress, 1987)? It covers the critical issues well and it's only really in one chapter that he advances his own Millenarian thesis. The major downside to my mind, because of its age, is that it doesn't pick up the Imperial language as much as it might.

  5. Ed,

    Thanks. You are correct, Donfried is not recent and Malherbe certainly not. In fact, Malherbe is out of print. It is a shame that there is not a more recent introduction. I guess that could be a spin off of my commentary.