The Catholic University of America

 Paul S. Jeon Defense

Final Examination of Paul S. Jeon

for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy

November 5, 2010 3:10 p.m., Caldwell Room 125



Rev. John Paul Heil, S.S.D.


To Exhort and Reprove: Audience Response to the Chiastic Structures of Paul’s Letter to Titus

Biblical scholars have not yet agreed on the literary structure of the letter to Titus.  There are two main camps in this discussion.  The first maintains that the letter is incoherent; thus the letter has no structure.  The letter is composed of multiple literary forms that have been combined without any artistic sensitivity.  The second camp argues for coherence and maintains the presence of a structure; yet its representatives disagree concerning what unifies the letter and how the various units are interconnected.  Those who argue for coherence have focused on a unifying theology or a specific church-social setting behind Titus; but none has actually traced the movement of the text throughout the entire letter, considering how each sentence and paragraph connects to the next and how the whole letter coheres linguistically.

The purpose of this study is to propose an extended chiastic structure for the entire letter.  This structure comprises smaller chiastic units that organize each individual section of the letter.  This new proposal provides the basis for rereading Titus with a particular sensitivity to how the recipients are required to respond to Paul’s instructions.  This reading highlights how the unifying theme of “Exhort and Reprove on the Basis of the Hope of Eternal Life” unfolds throughout the chiastic structures in the letter.

The study applies a text-centered, literary-rhetorical, and audience-oriented method to the letter to Titus.  By doing so, it demonstrates how the chiastic progression of the letter persuades the textual audience, i.e., the audience in the text, to conduct themselves according to the hope of eternal life.  Chapter One focuses on the history of research concerning the problem of the letter’s structure.  Chapter Two illustrates and establishes the chiastic structures of Titus.  Chapters Three to Six provide the audience-oriented responses to the four macrochiastic structures of the letter.  Chapter Seven concludes the investigation with a summary of how the entire letter to Titus, through its chiastic structures, persuades its audience to live according to the hope of eternal life.