Cart 0 Log In
SBL Press Bookstore
Pauline Autobiography: Toward a New Understanding
George Lyons
Publication Date
January 1997


“This groundbreaking dissertation, written at Emory University under the direction of Hendrikus Boers, challenges the generally held assumption that Paul wrote about himself only in an apologetic mode in response to the accusations of opponents. … Lyons has mounted an impressive argument on three major points: (1) Paul’s autobiographical remarks are intended as exemplary rather than apologetic; this has major implications for determining the literary genre of the texts. (2) Because the apostle’s life (ethos) ‘incarnates’ the truth of the gospel, the imitatio Pauli is a major theme of the letters. (3) Great caution is required in historical reconstruction of the teachings and charges of Paul’s opponents. … [H]is work is both sensible and provocative. Using rhetorical analysis with sophistication, Lyons has given us an incisive piece of research that deserves to have a major impact in Pauline studies.”
— Richard B. Hays, Journal of Biblical Literature

“Lyons’s conclusions are highly provocative, for they challenge commonly accepted exegetical methodology and its results, especially in relation to Galatians and First Thessalonians.Anyone undertaking serious study of these two letters will need to reckon with this dissertation. It sheds much initial light on the function of Pauline ‘autobiography’ and offers alternative interpretations of Galatians and First Thessalonians as well.”
— C. Thomas Rhyne, Interpretation