Coping with death in Paul’s early letters
Starting with 1 Thessalonians and Galatians, we will follow the relative sequence as suggested above through 1-2 Corinthians, Romans, and closing with Philippians and Philemon. We focus on one letter at the time, dealing with each letter as an “individual,” that is, as having its specific errand and its own rhetorical and historical situation. The perspective of psychological coping offers a way to discern the letters as expressions of subjective appraisals in specific situations, and therefore, each letter will be introduced with a brief discussion of the letter’s historical and rhetorical situation. Then the passages about the death of contemporary persons will identified before the proper analysis of Paul’s attitude toward death begins.