Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Religion & Culture / Religious Studies


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Harold Remus

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


Understanding Paul’s ethos is essential to understanding the persuasive power of Paul’s writing. This thesis uses Paul’s letter to the Philippians as a test case for the study of Paul’s appeal through ethos. The guiding body of theory for the study (Chapter 2) is classic rhetoric, especially as developed by Aristotle, Cicero, Quintilian, and the Rhetorica ad Herrenium. The results of this chapter are a working definition of ethos for the purposes of study, and an understanding of the relationship of ethos to the deliberative genus. Chapter 3 provides an introduction to the basic questions which affect any detailed study of Philippians and examines the rhetorical and historical situation of Philippians and the implications of the letter format for ethos. The body of the thesis, Chapter 4, examines Paul’s ethos from six perspectives: identification, self-portrait, style, imported texts, the role of Timothy, and inartistic ethical appeals. In all of these areas, Paul exerts a significant ethical appeal. Chapter 5 concludes that ethos is a mode of appeal with immense persuasive potential, of which Paul makes extensive use in Philippians, and an understanding of which is necessary for an understanding of the persuasive function of the letter; it also discusses the relevance of the work for other scholarship and suggests a few directions for further research.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season