This paper argues - against the general scholarly consensus
- that Jesus not only had sufficient linguistic competence to converse
with others in Greek but also even to teach in Greek during his ministry.
After an introduction to the possible languages of Jesus (Aramaic, Hebrew
and Greek), the evidence for the widespread use of Greek, especially in
Galilee, is examined: the role of Greek as the lingua franca of the
Graeco-Roman world; the geographic and epigraphic-literary evidence for
Greek in Lower Galilee and Palestine; and Jesus' use of Greek according to
the New Testament. Several significant New Testament passages are
examined, including Jesus' trial before Pilate and Jesus' discussion with
his disciples at Caesarea Philippi, along with several others.
It is commonly assumed that eidolothuton is a
polemical term created by early Jews to refer to meat sacrificed to a
pagan god. An exhaustive search of the data in the TLG and in the papyri
casts doubts on this hypothesis. All of the references to
eidolothuton in the sources are found in Christian texts, with two
exceptions; and both of these exceptions may have been influenced by
Christian redaction. In any case, it appears that neither of these texts
antedates the Corinthian correspondence. Thus, this term may have
originated in early Jewish Christianity.
A study of all the NT
references to eidolothuton reveals that this term in the early
period was distinguishable from hierothuton (sacred food), and that
it meant meat sacrificed to and eaten in the presence of an idol, or in
the temple precincts. Numerous reference to eidolothuton in the
Greek Fathers show that Chrysostom and others understood this to be the
meaning of the term in Acts 15 and in other contexts.
possible implications of the above are: (1) the Decree in Acts 15 is about
Gentiles refraining from meals and immorality in pagan temples, not about
them keeping a modicum of Jewish, or Noachic food laws; (2) 1 Cor. 8-10
reflects Paul's acceptance and implementation of the Decree; (3) Galatians
was written before the Decree and reflects the struggle that led to the
Decree; (4) Paul and James were in basic agreement in regard to what
Gentiles needed to do to maintain table fellowship with Jewish
Christians-avoid pagan feasts and immorality. Neither imposed circumcision
or food laws on Gentiles. The latter was the position of the Judaising
faction in the Jerusalem Church who were more conservative than James,
Peter, or Paul. As C. Hill's recent 'Hellenists and Hebrews' shows, F.C.
Baur's view of early Christianity is no longer adequate.
Most studies on Genesis tend to focus on the disparate
nature of the material which has been used in its composition. It is
argued here that the entire book has been carefully composed to focus on a
unique family line. The members of this line of 'seed' enjoyed a special
relationship with God which resulted in the establishment of two eternal
covenants, the first with Noah and the second with Abraham. At the heart
of this latter covenant was the promise that God's blessing would be
mediated to all the nations of the earth through the 'seed' of Abraham.
While the book of Genesis draws attention to the initial stages of the
fulfilment of this promise, its ultimate fulfilment is linked to a royal
dynasty associated with the descendants of Judah.
What is the link between worship and ethics in Romans 12?
Kaesemann rather too easily proposes that the mystical tradition of
Hellenism is the main inspiration for Paul's thinking and ignores the
biblical theological background to Paul's argument and the wider context
of Romans. The first two verses of Romans 12 proclaim a reversal of the
downward spiral depicted in Romans 1. A new kind of service to God is made
possible by the saving work of Jesus. Renewal of the mind is a critical
aspect of this, enabling Christians to discern the will of God and do it.
Paul does not present a system of casuistry in the rest of Romans but
various axhorations and examples consistent with the fundamental
perspectives of 12:1-2.
This essay seeks to reconsider the debate between Karl Barth
and Emil Brunner concerning the relationship between the nature and grace.
The first section considers the immediate political and social context for
the debate in 1930s Germany, and suggests that only when this Sitz im
Leben is taken into account can the urgent tone of Barth's
denunciation of Brunner be properly appreciated. Subsequent sections
identify the key issues of dispute between the two, especially Brunner's
insistent differentiation between a 'formal' and 'material' image of God
in humans, and his affirmation of the need for a 'point of contact' for
grace in human nature as created and fallen. The essay concludes by
exploring an ambiguity in the central term
Offenbarungsmaechtigkeit, and suggests that there is a way of
interpreting this term which satisfies Barth's theological concerns, and
which he himself cannot avoid conceding the validity of.
This article seeks to establish the extent to which
Marcion's Christology influenced the formation of his gospel canon, the
Euaggelion. Marcion's Christology, as seen in statements preserved
in Irenaeus, Tertullian and Epiphanius, has features that can be described
as both docetic and modalist. These christological beliefs effect
Marcion's redaction of the Pauline epistles and his omission of material
from Luke's Gospel. In particular the omission of the birth narratives and
notices relating to the humanity of Jesus suggest the appropriateness of
Tertullian's slogan: 'the sudden Christ'.
As the Corinthian correspondence is read against the
cultural background of a Roman colony, it is possible to identify members
of the social elite within the church. After a consideration of the nature
of the city and its elite, various case studies are presented. These
include issues such as law courts, head-dresses, divisions at the Lord's
Supper, households and dining. Through the issue of benefactions further
light is thrown on Corinth's place in the province of Achaia and an
estimate is made for the city's population.
A frequent cause of mutual alienation among Christians is
the charge of too much certainty on the one hand and too little certainty
on the other. How do we find a kind of certainty which is confident and
yet humble and teachable? We are heirs of an Enlightenment which took as
the ideal of knowledge an 'objectivity' which pretended to eliminate all
the subjective factors in human knowing and to provide indubitable
certainty. This has led into the collapse, of belief in objective truth,
scepticism and nihilism. Christian affirmation of the truth of the Gospel
must not fall victim to a false concept of objectivity but must take the
form of personal commitment to a faithful God.
This work addresses the issue of the time frame anticipated
by the Lukan Jesus for the fulfilment of the promises in Luke 22:29-30:
are the apostles to dine and rule in the church age, in the eschaton, or
in both eras? On the basis of verbal, grammatical, contextual, logical,
and other factors it is argued that, in spite of the orientation of much
recent scholarship, the eschaton, not earlier periods, is in view.
Further, neither the differences between Luke 22:29-30 and Matthew 19:28
nor the limited thematic likeness between Luke 22:29-30 and apostolic
activity in Acts count against this conclusion.
Ephesians 5:18 startlingly contrasts drunkenness with
fulness with the Spirit. Previous attempts to relate this contrast to
excessive behaviour within Christian gatherings have not convinced many.
Instead of suggesting alternative improprieties, the present study
expolores behavioural patterns followed at various Graeco-Roman convivial
gatherings. These patterns indicate that some people who regularly met for
special meals commonly chose abstention from drunkenness in favour of
stimulating, even religious, discussion. Accordingly, the present study
suggests that the statements of 5:18-20, and ultimately others made
throughout the moral teaching in Ephesians, simply reflect the writer's
assumption that his readers regularly gathered in a mealtime context.