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Title: Ecclesial solidarity in the Pauline corpus
Author: Hughes, James Thomas
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis examines expectations of ecclesial solidarity in the letters to communities in the Pauline corpus, with a particular focus on inter-church solidarity, as this has been a neglected area. The thesis proceeds by examining the use and meaning of ἐκκλησία, images for the church, and the language of imitation and apostleship in the nine Pauline letters addressed to churches, taking the letters in four groups by approximate and relative chronological order, after first examining the use of ἐκκλησία in ancient Greek literature, and in the Septuagint and related literature. This examination confirms the traditional understanding of ἐκκλησία as 'assembly', whilst also highlighting a flexibility of usage, and the focus on assembly as a political, decision making gathering. The examination of Paul's earliest letters reveals a concern with intra-church solidarity. However, close analysis of the use of ἐκκλησία taking into account earlier usage suggests that Paul uses ἐκκλησία flexibly, and trans-locally. Concerns with inter-church solidarity can also be seen in the use of the language of 'brothers' and holy people, and in the examples presented of churches to be imitated. This solidarity extends beyond hospitality and mutual support to behaving for the benefit of other churches. In the Corinthian correspondence, alongside a frequently noted concern with intra-church solidarity, there is an extensive concern for inter-church solidarity, shown in the use of ἐκκλησία, brothers, body, saints and temple, and the language of imitation and apostleship. Close analysis reveals this concern throughout the letter, and that Paul seeks to promote a shared ethos across all churches, not just those of the Pauline mission. Romans and Philippians continue to show a concern for inter-church solidarity, but the particular issues addressed in the letters mean that the focus is on intra-church solidarity. Colossians and Ephesians demonstrate an extensive concern for inter-church solidarity, seen in the trans-local, but not heavenly, use of ἐκκλησία and in the language of holy people, body and temple. However, this inter-church solidarity is promoted as an encouragement to intra-church solidarity, and, particularly in Ephesians, inter-church solidarity is fostered by intra-church solidarity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Solidarity