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Title: The God who gives : Philo and Paul in conversation
Author: McFarland, Orrey Wayne
ISNI:       0000 0004 2751 4482
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis sets Philo of Alexandria and the apostle Paul in conversation on divine grace. While scholars have occasionally observed that Philo and Paul both speak about God’s generosity, studies and comparisons of their particular theologies of grace have been rare. And such work has often placed Philo and Paul in either strong continuity or stark discontinuity without probing into the theological logic that animates the particularities of their thought. By contrast, this work argues that Philo and Paul both could speak of divine gifts emphatically and in formally similar ways while making materially different theological judgments. That is, their theologies of grace are neither identical nor antithetical. Part One sets forth Philo’s view of divine generosity. Chapter One explores Philo’s doctrine of God, considering how the different aspects of his Theology proper relate and contribute to his belief that God is a lover of gifts and giving. Chapter Two focuses on what kind of human is worthy to receive divine gifts and what constitutes a human as worthy. It is argued throughout that Philo’s concept of both God’s generosity and human worth must be situated within the context of God’s creative acts: human worth is constituted by the God who creates all good things, and God’s giving is rational and just, in line with the patterns of the cosmos established by God’s Law and Logos. Part Two turns to Paul, placing portions of his letters in dialogue with Philo. Chapter Three traces how Paul’s view of divine grace is concentrated in and explicated by the Christ-event; Chapter Four explores how the gift is given and received, with a focus on the apostle’s role; and Chapter Five examines the relationship between divine and human generosity within community. The main consequence of the comparison in Part Two is the conclusion that Philo’s and Paul’s beliefs about divine grace are both emphatic and different, and the relationship between them is interesting because of that fact. Philo’s theology stresses that in creation God is revealed to be abundantly gracious to humans who should live virtuously through the use of God’s creational gifts. Paul’s theology stresses that the divine act of Jesus’ death and resurrection for the ungodly, which effects new creation, is the supreme manifestation of divine generosity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available