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(kəlŏsh`ənz), New Testament letter. It was written to the Christians of Colossae and Laodicea, ostensibly by PaulPaul, Saint,
d. A.D. 64? or 67?, the apostle to the Gentiles, b. Tarsus, Asia Minor. He was a Jew. His father was a Roman citizen, probably of some means, and Paul was a tentmaker by trade. His Jewish name was Saul.
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 while he was in prison, presumably in Rome (c.A.D. 60). Its writing was provoked by the appearance of false teachers who taught some sort of gnostic doctrine involving either the worship of angels or the worship of God in mystical communion with the angels, and ascetic and ritual observance evocative of Jewish practice. Some scholars argue that Colossians is a pseudonymous work. In support of this contention, they cite passages asserting that believers have already been raised with Jesus. In the undisputed Pauline letters (Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, Philemon), Paul views the resurrection as a future hope for believers, not a fact of present experience. The conventional and patriarchal morality espoused in the so-called Household Codes of chapters 3 and 4 has no parallel in the undisputed Paulines. Colossians is similar to EphesiansEphesians
, letter of the New Testament, written, according to tradition, by St. Paul to the Christians of Ephesus from his captivity at Rome (c.A.D. 60). There is ground for believing that the letter was intended as an encyclical.
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 in theological outlook. It features a hymn to Jesus as the head of the cosmos and the Church, and it emphasizes the doctrine of the mystical body of Christ.


See P. T. O'Brien, Colossians and Philemon (1982).

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