This book analyzes Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians and demonstrates that the Letter’s implied audience heard its individual units as a rich and complex pattern of chiastic structures. It shows that, not only is the entire Letter arranged in fifteen units that function as a comprehensive chiastic structure, but that each of these fifteen units in turn exhibits its own chiastic structure. By attending carefully to the structure and rhetoric of Ephesians, this work demonstrates how the implied audience is persuaded and empowered by the progression of the Letter to “walk in love” and so contribute to the cosmic unity of all things in Christ.
“[T]his is an important work which advances our understanding of Ephesians in significant ways. In particular, Heil’s emphasis on how the linguistic features function as a means of empowerment sheds new light on the relationship between the ethical and theological components of the letter. Future commentators on Ephesians will find this work especially useful.”
— Margaret Y. MacDonald, Biblical Interpretation
John Paul Heil is Professor of New Testament at Catholic University of America. His books include The Meal Scenes in Luke-Acts: An Audience-Oriented Approach and The Rhetorical Role of Scripture in 1 Corinthians (Society of Biblical Literature); The Gospel of Mark as Model for Action: A Reader-Response Commentary (Paulist); and The Death and Resurrection of Jesus: A Narrative-Critical Reading of Matthew 26–28 (Fortress).