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Title: Slaves of God and Christ : a traditio-historical and exegetical examination of slavery metaphors in Early Judaism and Pauline Christianity
Author: Byron, John
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2002
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Abstract:
Interpretation of the `slave of Christ' title and its background in Pauline literature has commonly followed two possible avenues: 1) it is an honorific title found in the LXX and borrowed by Paul from the Patriarchs, Moses, David and the Prophets; 2) it is an adoption of imagery from the institution of Greco-Roman slavery illustrating that Paul is in a similar relationship with Christ. Until now scholarship has focused largely on Greco-Roman slavery and its possible influences on Paul. This thesis demonstrates that Paul's metaphor of slavery should be located within the `slave of God' traditions in Early Judaism rather than Greco-Roman slave practices. This is accomplished through an examination of early Jewish Literature that identifies literary traditions surrounding ancient Israel and Early Judaism's self-understanding of themselves as the slaves of God. It is within this context that Paul's slavery language is interpreted. Paul is not borrowing images from Greco-Roman society but is continuing in the traditions of his Jewish heritage and interacting within a broader discussion of slavery in Early Judaism. Christ is the paradigmatic slave of God. To follow Christ in loyal obedience is the equivalent of being his slave and ultimately allows one to fulfill obligations of slavery to God. On the individual level this occurs by imitating Christ's pattern as the slave of God found in Philippians 2.6-11. In the context of the Pauline community it is manifested when members enslave themselves to one another in the same way that Christ enslaved himself to others. Thus, the Slave of Christ title is not an abstract concept adopted from societal images nor is it an honorific title. Slavery to Christ is Paul's understanding of how the Christ event enables believers to fulfill their obligations of obedience as God's slaves.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.393274  DOI: Not available
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