Traditionally, scholars have traced the origin of Christianity to a single source—the kingdom of God as represented in the message of the historical Jesus. Through a rhetorical critical analysis of one of the most important texts in early Christian literature (the Beelzebul controversy), Michael L. Humphries addresses the issue of Christian origins, demonstrating how the language of the kingdom of God is best understood according to its locative or taxonomic effect where the demarcation of social and cultural boundaries contributes to the emergence of this new social foundation. The Beelzebul controversy exists in two versions— Q and Mark—and thereby allows the study to engage the import of the kingdom language at the point of juxtaposition between two distinct textual representations. This makes it possible to deal directly with the issue of the disparity of texts in the synoptic tradition. Humphries suggests that these two versions of the same controversy indicate two distinct social trajectories wherein the kingdom of God comes to mean something quite different in each case but that nevertheless they demonstrate a similarity in theoretical effect where the language contributes to the emergence of relatively distinct social formations. Humphries establishes the Q and Markan versions of the Beelzebul controversy as relatively sophisticated compositions that are formally identified as elaborate chreiai (a literary form used in the teaching of rhetoric at the secondary and post-secondary level of GrecoRoman education) and that offer an excellent example of the rhetorical manipulation of language in the development of social and cultural identity.
christian origins and the language of the kingdom of god
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There has been a varied range of studies on Jesus. Though now it seems there is a pause and perhaps opening to new orientation, with the aim not simply to cover old ground or repeat past mistakes. This is a study of Jesus and Christian origins with a primary focus on the Gospels. There have been comprehensive and important contributions, like N. T. Wright’s The New Testament and the People of God. At the same time, more defined studies have appeared. The purpose here is not to develop particular New Testament themes as such. Rather, in this volume the writers take up Gospel related topics in the context of the early church in order to illuminate specific baselines for New Testament interpretation and to discern directions toward a new paradigm. There is much to do. The need to take account of reception history and so of the “external evidence” for the New Testament documents; also eyewitness and oral tradition as embodied in the Gospel accounts. The genre of the Gospels with reference to biography or history has its own importance. The reception and “authority” of the Gospels in the early church marks another baseline. Jesus in his Jewish context and in relation to emerging Christianity is also a critical baseline for interpretation.
This brief, accessible book offers a unique approach to the theme of the kingdom of God and to biblical theology. Sigurd Grindheim explains the whole Bible's teaching on the kingdom of God, discussing its implications for the Christian, the church, and politics. Grindheim shows what it means that God rules on earth, how his rule is established through the work of Christ, and how this rule is embodied by the church today, offering a new vision for the church's role in the kingdom: putting God's gifts to work.
For hundreds of years, scholars have debated the meaning of Jesus’ central theological term, the ‘kingdom of God’. Most of the argument has focused on its assumed eschatological connotations and Jesus’ adherence or deviation from these ideas. Within the North American context, the debate is dominated by the work of Norman Perrin, whose classification of the kingdom of God as a myth-evoking symbol remains one of the fundamental assumptions of scholarship. According to Perrin, Jesus’ understanding of the kingdom of God is founded upon the myth of God acting as king on behalf of Israel as described in the Hebrew Bible. Moving Beyond Symbol and Myth challenges Perrin’s classification, and advocates the reclassification of the kingdom of God as metaphor. Drawing upon insights from the cognitive theory of metaphor, this study examines all the occurrences of the ‘God is king’ metaphor within the literary context of the Hebrew Bible. Based on this review, it is proposed that the ‘God is king’ metaphor functions as a true metaphor with a range of expressions and meanings. It is employed within a variety of texts and conveys images of God as the covenantal sovereign of Israel; God as the eternal suzerain of the world, and God as the king of the disadvantaged. The interaction of the semantic fields of divinity and human kingship evoke a range of metaphoric expressions that are utilized throughout the history of the Hebrew Bible in response to differing socio-historical contexts and within a range of rhetorical strategies. It is this diversity inherent in the ‘God is king’ metaphor that is the foundation for the diversified expressions of the kingdom of God associated with the historical Jesus and early Christianity.
Among Library Journal's picks of the most important reference works of the millennium - with the Encyclopedia Judaica and the New Catholic Encyclopedia - Mircea Eliade's Encyclopedia of Religion won the American Library Associations' Dartmouth Medal in 1988 and is widely regarded as the standard reference work in the field. This second edition, which is intended to reflect both changes in academia and in the world since 1987, includes almost all of the 2,750 original entries - many heavily updated - as well as approximately 600 entirely new articles. Preserving the best of Eliade's cross-cultural approach, while emphasizing religion's role within everyday life and as a unique experience from culture to culture, this new edition is the definitive work in the field for the 21st century. An international team of scholars and contributors have reviewed, revised and added to every word of the classic work, making it relevant to the questions and interests of all researchers. The result is an essential purchase for libraries of all kinds.
In Contested Issues in Christian Origins and the New Testament, Luke Timothy Johnson offers a series of independent studies on a range of critical questions from the historical Jesus to sexuality and law.
This highly anticipated second volume of N.T. Wright's project on Christian origins focuses directly on the historical Jesus: Who was he? What did he do? What did he say? And what did he mean by it all? It is packed with new insights and controversial proposals, yet supports a much more positive view of Jesus than has been the case with much 20th-century scholarship.
Anyone who is interested in the rigorous study of early Christianity and who has not engaged with the works of James D. G. Dunn is not really interested in the rigorous study of early Christianity. No one would dispute that Professor Dunn is one of the most prolific New Testament scholars of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. And while a handful of scholars might have a list of publications to rival his own extensive publications list, none of them could claim to have set the agenda of scholarly study to the extent that Jimmy Dunn has done for a sustained period of time since the 1970s. The Holy Spirit and Christian Origins comprises a selection of original essays that explore a topic that has held a prominent and distinctive place in the majority of Professor Dunn's publications. Written by twenty-seven leading scholars, this singular volume probes deep into the nascent Christian communities and their writings and investigates the early Christians' convictions concerning the Holy Spirit. Ranging widely through Scripture and across early church history, many of these essays introduce groundbreaking research in biblical studies, and some engage directly with Dunn's work in the field. Presenting some of the best new work in New Testament studies as well as celebrating a respected career, The Holy Spirit and Christian Origins will help to stimulate further discussion and reflection in the theological academy and in the Christian church -- two sectors that Jimmy Dunn has consistently and passionately sought to straddle, nurture, and refresh. Contributors: Robert Banks John M. G. Barclay Richard Bauckham Peder Borgen David Catchpole Gordon D. Fee Victor Paul Furnish Beverly Roberts Gaventa Joel B. Green Morna D. Hooker Robert Jewett Hermann Lichtenberger Bruce W. Longenecker Ulrich Luz I. Howard Marshall Scot McKnight R. W. L. Moberly Robert Morgan J. Lionel North Graham N. Stanton Loren T. Stuckenbruck Peter Stuhlmacher Anthony C. Thiselton Marianne Meye Thompson Paul Trebilco Max Turner Alexander J. M. Wedderburn
An account of the beginnings of the Christian movement: a third of it on the Judaism of the first century, a third on Jesus, and a third on Paul and the development from messianic sect to Christian religion.