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Title: Paul's approach to death in his letters and in early Pauline effective history
Author: Kirk, Alexander N.
ISNI:       0000 0004 4356 106X
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis analyzes the Apostle Paul’s approach to his own death. The term “approach” is deliberately vague and is intended to encompass a number of questions: What was Paul’s attitude toward his death? How did he act and what did he say and write in view of it? What hopes did he hold for himself beyond death? These questions are explored through a close reading of three Pauline letters that look forward to Paul’s death and other relevant texts in the first two generations after Paul’s death (A.D. 70–160). Thus, this thesis is a study of Paul’s death in prospect and retrospect. Starting with the latter, the first half of the thesis examines portraits of the departed Paul in Acts 20:17–38; 1 Clem. 5.1–6.1; Ign. Eph. 12.2; Rom. 4.3; Pol. Phil. 9.1–2; and the Martyrdom of Paul. It is argued that these portraits exhibit a complicated network of similarities that may be described using Wittgenstein’s concept of “family resemblances.” Viewed as a part of Paul’s early effective history, these early portraits of Paul offer substantial resources for the interpretation of his letters. The second half of the thesis examines portraits of the departing Paul in 2 Cor 1:8–14; 4:16–5:10; Phil 1:18d–26; 2:16b–18; 3:7–14; and 2 Tim 1:12; 4:6–8, 17–18. The “decision of death” referred to in 2 Cor 1:9 is highlighted as a religious experience and one which goaded Paul to formulate his approach to death. It is argued that his death did not primarily present an existential challenge, but a pastoral one. Although touching upon three areas of recent scholarly interest (Paul’s theology of death and beyond; Paul’s religious experience; and Pauline reception), this thesis sets forth a new research question and fresh interpretations of early Christian and Pauline texts.
Supervisor: Bockmuehl, Markus Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Biblical studies ; Church history ; Christianity and Christian spirituality ; Paul the Apostle ; death ; early Christianity ; effective history