The 'center' of the Psalter has not been given much attention up to now. This essay first examines the literary concept of 'center'. On the basis of thematic-theological considerations the focus then falls on Ps 78, the second longest Psalm. Key considerations are: the move from (individual) hlpt to (collective) hlht; Torah-wisdom; didactic history reflection climaxing with David; interface of mosaic and davidic figures and topics; double connection back to Torah and Nebiim, cf. programmatically Psalm 1. This evidence suggest that Ps 78 has been envisaged by the final redactors as the 'center' of the book (intention) and can be recognized as such as the Psalter is read repeatedly or even memorised (reception).
Paul’s portrayal of the parousia of Christ in 1 Thess 4,13-18 is induced by a concrete problem of the recently founded community in Thessalonica. So to understand the text means to reconstruct the situation out of which it has been written. A closer look at the argument of 4,13-18 reveals the fact that the event of the parousia is the centre of the problem. After a brief sketch of the recent scholarly discussion, the article gives an overview of ancient conceptions of the hereafter (or their lack, respectively) as the cultural background of the potential reception of the idea of the parousia in Thessalonica. Then the identity building force of this idea as part of the missionary preaching becomes discernible: a Christian identity constituted by a separate hope of life after death and a critical distance to the socio-political reality. In this light the deaths of some community members can be understood as an attack on the identity of the community, which Paul’s eschatological rearrangement tries to strengthen again.
The military background of Mk 5,1-20 points to the Legio X Fretensis, which has been active in the Jewish War and whose ensign, a boar, matches the swines mentioned in Mk 5,1-20. However, the figure 2000, which is mentioned to give the size of the herd, does not correspond to this context. Roman legions consisted of about 5000-6000 soldiers. This contradiction can only be resolved, when the history of the Legio X is taken into consideration. In 66 AD a vexiliation of this Legio X, consisting of 2000 soldiers, was involved in fights with Jewish insurgents (Jos., Bell. 2,499-506). These details go well with the allusions in Mk 5,1-20 to the Legio X and can explain the figure 2000. From this perspective, Mark’s Jesus is portrayed as a powerful warlord and liberator rather than an occupator.
This paper explores various issues pertaining to the exegesis of Greek conditional clauses, using as a case study the pair of conditional statements found in Galatians 1,8-9. These conditional curse formulations are broadly similar with reference to content, whilst also showing significant differences, notably in terms of mood. These conditional statements are firstly examined from syntactic and semantic perspectives. Their function in the discourse is then analysed with reference to Speech Act Theory. An integrative approach to exegesis of conditional clauses is advocated.
This article argues for the diversity of early Christianity in terms of religiocultural communities. Each early Christian group, based on a personal revelation of leadership and the group’s socio-political milieu, maintained its own tradition (oral, written, or both) of Jesus for the continuity and prosperity of the movement. The leaders of early Christianity allowed outsiders to become insiders in the condition where the new comers committed to give up their previous religious attitude and custom and then follow the new community rules. The membership of the Thomasine group is not exceptional in this case. The Logia tradition of P. Oxy. 1, 654.655, and NHC II, 2. 32: 10-51: 28 in the context of community policy will prove the pre-gnostic peculiarity of the creative and independent movement within the Graeco-Roman world.
The aim of this short study is to propose a hermeneutical reading of Johannine soteriology based on John 3,16 and 1 John 4,9 in order to clarify in what sense Jesus was ‘the cause’ salvation. I will employ the Aristotelian categorization of the various causes as used by Philo in his explanation of the creation of the cosmos and apply his scheme to the Johannine texts. The result is (1) a specific definition of what constitutes the cause of salvation and (2) the important distinction between the means (understood as the four conjoint Aristotelian causes) and the mode (understood as faith) of salvation.