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  • Cited by 4
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    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Tolmie, D. Francois 2016. Reg én geregtigheid – ’n Perspektief uit die brief aan Filemon. In Die Skriflig in Luce Verbi, Vol. 50, Issue. 3,

    Tolmie, D. Francois 2016. Die resepsie van retoriese momente van die Filemonbrief deur Patristiese eksegete. HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies, Vol. 72, Issue. 4,

    Tolmie, D. Francois 2015. Ambrosiaster se uitleg van die Filemonbrief en die retoriese analise van hierdie brief. In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi, Vol. 49, Issue. 2,

    Punt, Jeremy 2012. Paulus en mag: Raamwerke en aansprake. HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies, Vol. 68, Issue. 1,


‘Thanks, but no Thanks’: Tact, Persuasion, and the Negotiation of Power in Paul's Letter to Philemon*

  • Scott S. Elliott (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 16 December 2010

Historical reconstructions concerning Philemon consistently illustrate an overwhelming tendency to see Paul as operating with the most innocuous and transparent of motives. In contrast, my (mildly playful) reading of Philemon posits a Paul engaged in power negotiations with his addressee. Though Philemon acts as Paul's would-be patron, Paul resists the gesture and opts instead to assign Philemon a carefully proscribed role vis-à-vis himself. Paul relies on rhetorical techniques of tact to coerce Philemon to adopt this role ‘voluntarily’. Onesimus emerges, then, as a pawn in a negotiation for power and status in the community.

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T. Nicklas , ‘The Letter to Philemon: A Discussion with J. Albert Harrill’, Paul's World (ed. S. E. Porter ; Leiden: Brill, 2008) 201–19

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New Testament Studies
  • ISSN: 0028-6885
  • EISSN: 1469-8145
  • URL: /core/journals/new-testament-studies
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