While Pauline studies today continues to grapple with the question of the core of Paul's thought, the investigation of the apostle's social world is gaining interest among scholars. The study of Paul's argumentation offers a fundamental contribution to both endeavours. "Enthymemes", defined by the rhetorical tradition as the basic building blocks of deductive argumentation, constitute an important part of Paul's argumentation which until now has been relatively unexploited. Study of the manner in which Paul constructs enthymemes gives us insight into his thought world. The premises that he uses as argumentative proofs can be viewed as a reflection of the common "social knowledge" of the Pauline milieu. The object of this inquiry is to study Paul's use of enthymemes as a rhetorical and argumentative tool and to evaluate what this reveals about his thought, his teaching, and his social world. The study begins with a discussion of the problem of enthymeme definition, followed by a clarification of criteria for identifying enthymemes in texts. A method of analysis is proposed. The entire corpus of Paul's seven undisputed letters is then "combed" for enthymemes, one epistle at a time.;Enthymemes are identified and analysed, and their argumentative premises are catalogued thematically. This exercise permits a serious consideration of Paul's modes of argumentation, rhetorical aims and social world in the context of each epistle. Results from different epistles are compared as a means to consider, in general, Paul's rhetorical habits.
Enthymemes in the Letters of Paul by Marc J. Debanne was published by Continuum in March 2006. The ISBN for Enthymemes in the Letters of Paul is 9780567030566.