Andrew Bowden

Desire in Paul's Undisputed Epistles

Semantic Observations on the Use of epithymeō, ho epithymētēs, and epithymía in Roman Imperial Texts

[»Verlangen« in Paulus' unumstrittenen Briefen. Semantische Beobachtungen zur Verwendung von epithymeō, ho epithymētēs, und epithymía in Texten der römischen Kaiserzeit.]

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Published in English.
Does the apostle Paul think those with »desire« always try to obtain negative objects? Are there instances where »desire« is seen positively? Does Paul use this concept differently than other Roman imperial authors? Is »desire« always for objects related to sex? In this study, Andrew Bowden illustrates Paul's use of »desire« in light of its use in Roman imperial texts and sheds fresh light on this often misunderstood, misconstrued concept.
In this study, Andrew Bowden analyzes Paul's use of »desire« (ἐπιθυμέω, ἐπιθυμητής, and ἐπιθυμία) in his undisputed epistles. After introducing critical research on these lexemes, the author applies John Lyons's theory of semantic analysis to the use of ἐπιθυμέω κτλ in Roman imperial texts. Based on these observations, he makes a hypothesis concerning the common co-occurrences of »desire« in Roman imperial texts, its antonyms, the objects it longs for, and its use within metaphorical discourse. This hypothesis is then tested by looking at the use of »desire« in Dio Chrysostom, Epictetus, Lucian of Samosata, the Cynic epistles, and Second Temple Jewish texts. Andrew Bowden illustrates how, contrary to the view of many scholars, these Roman imperial authors consistently mention positive objects of »desire.« He then applies these findings concerning »desire« to Paul, yielding important and sometimes unexpected discoveries.

Andrew Bowden Born 1984; 2006 BA; 2010 MDiv; 2011 MTh; since 2018 Research and Teaching Fellow (Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter) at the Faculty of Protestant Theology, New Testament, of the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich, Germany; 2020 PhD.


The following reviews are known:

In: Theologische Revue —–3647 (Robert Vorholt)
In: Theologische Literaturzeitung — 156 (2021), pp. 1053–1055 (Stefan Krauter)