Thursday, December 10, 2020


 Reading E. Randolph Richards's Paul and First-Century Letter Writing, I was introduced to the concept of philophronesis, which Richards attributes to Heikki Koskenniemi's studies of letter writing. The idea is that private correspondence tends to have at least one, sometimes more, of three purposes:

(1) philophronesis: the maintaining of friendly relations
(2) parousia: being present even when not physically so
(3) homilia: carrying on an ongoing conversation, each letter being one-half of a dialogue.

In effect, philophronesis in this context means the use of correspondence to establish, strengthen, or restore good personal relations.

'Philophronesis' is itself an interesting word; the Greek is often translated as 'showing kindness'. It's also the name of a rhetorical approach, known in Latin as 'benevolentia', in which you use gentle speech in order to pacify an angry interlocutor. We might perhaps gloss it as taking thought for friendship (or friendliness). 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please understand that this weblog runs on a third-party comment system, not on Blogger's comment system. If you have come by way of a mobile device and can see this message, you may have landed on the Blogger comment page, or the third party commenting system has not yet completely loaded; your comments will only be shown on this page and not on the page most people will see, and it is much more likely that your comment will be missed.