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The origins of Pauline theology: paratexts and Priscillian of Avila’s Canons on the Letters of the Apostle Paul

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T.J. Lang, Matthew R. Crawford

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Pauline theology is a well-established undertaking in modern New Testament studies, and yet it is almost entirely without precedent prior to the nineteenth century. This article explores the enterprise of Pauline theology by considering an important and overlooked exception to its otherwise exclusively modern provenance: Priscillian of Avila’s fourth-century Canons on the Letters of the Apostle Paul. The key to Priscillian’s dogmatic synthesis of Paul’s thought was his innovative ‘versification’ of Paul’s letters, which facilitated efficient citation and cross-referencing of epistolary data. This article uses Priscillian’s literary creation to examine the intriguing correlation of technologies for ordering textual knowledge with the systematic abstraction of Pauline theology.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-45
JournalNew Testament Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2017

    Research areas

  • Pauline theology, Priscillian of Avila, Paratexts, Versification, Codex, Eusebius of Caesarea

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