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Original Research

Reading Philemon as therapeutic narrative

Pierre J. Jordaan, S. Philip Nolte

HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies; Vol 66, No 1 (2010), 6 pages. doi: 10.4102/hts.v66i1.307

Submitted: 06 July 2009
Published:  29 March 2010


This article analysed the different narratives implied in Philemon by utilising the narrative therapeutic approach, as developed by Epston and White (1990). A dominant narrative (the harsh treatment of slaves in the early Christian environment) and a challenging narrative (a more humane conduct of slaves) were clearly distinguished. The article showed Paul’s attempt to bridge the gap between these two narratives by using certain pointers, possibly taken from mystery religions and Jesus’ example. In conclusion, the narrative therapeutic approach proved to be a new and unique way of looking at Philemon’s narrative world.

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Author affiliations

Pierre J. Jordaan, North-West University, South Africa
S. Philip Nolte, University of Pretoria, South Africa


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