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Title: Prayer and participation in the Gospel : the formative aspect of Paul's prayer language in his mission to the Gentiles
Author: Moretz, James
ISNI:       0000 0005 0288 8864
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2017
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In a wide-ranging analysis, Karl-Heinrich Ostmeyer concludes that the various New Testament authors express the same purpose for prayer: successfully binding people to God in Christ. For Ostmeyer, Paul's prayer language manifests this single-mindedness as the intent to integrate everyone into a prayer-relationship to God. Given the coherence-contingency conundrum of Pauline theology, these are bold assertions. This thesis examines to what extent Ostmeyer's conclusions may be valid and valuable for understanding how prayer functioned in Paul's Gentile mission. The enquiry can be summarised in three questions. To what extent did prayer define the mission? To what extent was Paul's own act of prayer necessary to execute the mission, and why? To what extent did the prayers of his audiences constitute their participation in that mission? To address these questions, this thesis appropriates aspects of Embodied Cognitive Science, which maintains that human cognition is not a localised process within the brain, but phenomenally emerges from embodied human interaction with others and the environment. Thought, language, and behaviour are grounded in, and partially constituted by, sensorimotor perception (i.e. that which is seen, heard, touched, tasted, and smelt). Paradoxically, these activities are generally perceived as coherent even though they are perpetually contingent processes of dynamic integration. Consciousness, commonly called the human mind, is simultaneously the process and product of integrating the individual's perception of needs, desires, and volition with the continual sensorimotor experience characteristic of human life. This thesis argues that Paul's prayer language was necessarily grounded in his sensorimotor perception of the resurrected Jesus. Understanding the function of prayer language in his Gentile mission begins by asking how it related to what he perceived, and concludes by asking how his prayer language provided the sensorimotor perception necessary for his audience to understand what he was trying to tell them. The conclusion is that the formative aspect of prayer in Paul's Gentile mission was a reciprocal property: organising time and space to conceptualise divine-human communication, and being reorganized in time and space by the resurrection of Jesus to actualise divine-human interaction. The contribution to Pauline scholarship is illustrating that engagement between biblical studies and neuroscience is both necessary and beneficial due to the common quest to understand being human.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available