Paul's appeal to the emotions in 2 Corinthians 1.1-2.13; 7.5-16

L. L. Welborn*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


The essay focuses attention on a neglected aspect in rhetorical analysis of Paul's epistles: the pathetic proofs, or appeals to the emotions. Following a sketch of the role of emotional appeals in the ancient theory of composition, criteria are delineated for identifying the pathetic proofs of a portion of canonical 2 Corinthians, the portion chosen according to the principle of style. The body of the essay consists of an exegetical analysis of Paul's appeals to the emotions of pity, anger and zeal in 2 Cor. 1.1-2.13 and 7.5-16 in light of the treatment of these emotions by ancient rhetorical theorists. A survey of ancient letters demonstrates that appeals to these three emotions were deemed appropriate to the function of the conciliatory style. A concluding section reflects upon Paul's attempt to bring about a christophoric transformation of the emotions aroused by his letter.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-60
Number of pages30
JournalJournal for the Study of the New Testament
Issue number82
Publication statusPublished - 2001


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