Monday, August 27, 2007

Book Review: Fee’s Pauline Christology Part 9

For the series outline, click here.

Chapter 15: ‘Jesus: Jewish Messiah and exalted Lord’

This important chapter gathers a lot of material together, data that is, Fee argues, ‘the absolute heart of Pauline Christology’ (558). Essentially Fee asserts that the ‘Name’ Christ has inherited is none other than the substitute name for God in the Septuagint, kurios. Important here is Fee’s analysis of 1 Cor 8:6, a matter he takes as hermeneutically significant for Paul’s use of the title ‘kurios’ elsewhere in the canonical Pauline corpus. Three further subsections maintain the christological significance of Jesus the Lord in terms of the risen Lord as eschatological judge, prayer to the risen Lord and the sharing of divine prerogatives between Christ and God. The material in this chapter demands ‘that we either give up ... monotheism ... or find a way to include the Lord Jesus Christ within the divine identity of the one God’ (559).

Taking his point of departure from Paul’s usage of Ps 110:1 and the apostle’s understanding of Christ’s lordship in a messianic eschatological frame, he notes that the title ‘kurios’ is 1) never used as a reference to God but exclusively of Christ, and 2) that the title is ‘used predominantly of Christ’s present reign and anticipated coming, rarely of his earthly life’ (561). This is so, Fee argues, because it is the title Paul uses to include Christ in the divine identity (562). This is seen in the ‘name above every name’ language in three important passages which indicate this name is the substitute name for God. Turning once again to 1 Cor 8:6, Fee argues that in countering Corinthian gnosis:
‘Paul first accepts the correctness of the basic theological presupposition [of the Corinthian ‘strong’], “There is only one God”. However, he vehemently rejects what they are doing with it, ultimately for two reasons: such an action on the part of the “knowing ones” plays havoc with the other believers for whom Christ died but who cannot make these fine distinctions; moreover, they have misunderstood the demonic nature of idolatry’ (563).
Fee’s exegesis makes much of both 1 Cor 8:6 and 10:26 concluding that Paul’s argument ‘not only presuppositionally places Christ the Lord as the preexistent agent of creation, but also sees him as the Lord of Ps 24:1, to whom the whole of creation belongs’ (564).

The second key passage is Phil 2:10-11. Fee concludes that:
‘[T]he risen Christ is not Yahweh, who is always referred to by Paul as qeos (God); rather, the preexistent Son of God returns to receive the honor of having bestowed on him the substitute name for God, which then becomes a title for Christ as “Lord”’ (564).
In this passage, as with so many others, ‘[i]n Paul’s repeated citations and intertextual use of the Septuagint he consistently identifies the kurios = Yahweh of the Septuagint with the risen Lord Jesus Christ’ (565). This point is then traced through Rom 10:9-13 and 1 Cor 1:2.

This sets the scene for the understanding of the christological assuming of roles that traditionally belonged to God alone. This is seen in the Lord Jesus as eschatological judge, the offering of prayers to the risen Lord, and Christ’s sharing of divine prerogatives with the Father. Of importance are the following points: In terms of eschatology, Fee argues that:

‘Paul applies to the Lord, Jesus, the language of the psalms that refers to Yahweh. Christ is not Yahweh; but as the exalted Lord, he is understood by Paul to assume the role of Yahweh at his coming’ (570).
Similarly, in relation to 2 Thess 1:7-8 Fee concludes:

‘Thus, as before, the risen Lord is not identified as Yahweh’; rather, by his having had “the Name” bestowed on him, he assumes Yahweh’s divine roles when he comes as judge’ (571).
What Fee is doing here is not denying Christ is included in Yahweh’s identity or denying that he is ‘God’, as Fee asserts elsewhere. Rather he claims that Paul’s intertextual usage of the Septuagint predicates full divinity to Christ without having to call him God as such (cf. 573). This intertextual usage is seen to included the material in Paul which speaks of boasting in the Lord, having the mind of the Lord, plus the ‘Lord be with you’ and ‘the Lord is near’ language. The impressive list of divine prerogatives which Christ shares with God in the Pauline corpus is then listed by Fee: Christian existence in Christ/God, the grace of the Lord/of God, the peace of the Lord/of God, walking worthy of God/of the Lord, the divine presence at the parousia, the Lord/God who strengthens believers, the Word of the Lord/of God, the faithfulness of the Lord/of God, the Gospel of the Lord Jesus/of God, the glory of the Lord/of God, etc.

Finally, in terms of the Spirit of the Lord language, Fee claims:

‘Moreover, however one is finally to articulate the relationship between the one God and the one Lord [in terms of the Spirit], this kind of thing can be said by Paul only because believed that the incarnate Son and now exalted Lord was eternally and thus fully equal with the Father’ (584).
While he doesn’t develop this insight in much depth, he asserts that in this second strand of Paul’s primary categories for understanding Christ, ‘the emphasis is altogether upon the exalted Christ’s relationship to us and to the world’ (530).

In conclusion, Fee argues that Christ’s receiving of ‘the Name’, not Yahweh but the replacement divine name, allows Paul to ‘include the Son in the divine identity in a complete way, but without absolute identification (merging the two into one) and without the Son “usurping” the role of God the Father’ (585).

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Creationism potentially damaging to Christian faith

C’mon MY SON! You the man, Bishop Huber*!

Creationism weakens faith

"Man darf die Bibel nicht zu pseudowissenschaftlichen Aussagen missbrauchen. Es sei ein Irrtum, den Schöpfungsbericht gegen Darwinismus zu wenden"
*Der Ratsvorsitzende der Evangelischen Kirche in Deutschland

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Breaking News

I am in a rush tonight as I am busy packing my bags - we are flying back to England tomorrow. So I sadly don't have time to respond to comments today – I'll get to that Saturday evening.

But now to the real news. Today on the Biblical Studies Discussion List, Dr Jim West, the group's creator and my co-moderator, stunned the world with an amazing statement.

In response to the question as to what the gospels are, Jim West wrote:

"NT Wright is somewhat right"

West himself admits that Wright is correct! Don't believe me? See for yourself here! Of course this is a big turnaround for this self-confessed Wright (peace be upon him) critic. So despite his previous antiWright rants, now that West is starting to see sense and come to a Wright (peace be upon him) mind, I hereby declare West absolved from his past sins. After this theological Damascus Road experience, let us pray that West will turn many others from darkness to light. Surely this is a sign that the rapture is upon us?

Book Review: Fee’s Pauline Christology Part 8

For the series outline, click here.

Chapter 14: 'Jesus: Jewish Messiah and Son of God'.

Fee maintains that Paul's 'Son of God Christology' is best tied to messianic themes explicated through an analysis of the basic narrative of Judaism in the scriptures. Christ is the Davidic Son of God. Furthermore, in this context Fee also argues that for Paul Christ is also the eschatological king, and the pre-existent (and thus) eternal Son. Indeed, this is the first of two of Paul's 'primary categories for understanding the person of Christ', namely that 'the risen Jesus was none other than the preexistent Son of God, who came present among us to redeem' (530).

After detailing how the Jewish story lends specifically messianic import to Paul's 'Son of God' language, in a key passage Fee writes: 'But that history [read: scriptural story] ... does not explain how he [Paul] came also to understand Christ as the eternal Son of God; so this is taken up at the end of this chapter, with the emphasis on his understanding of Christ as the preexistent (thus eternal) Son of God' (531). Key to his understanding of the Son of God as eternal is the association of Christ with 'the Father' in 1 Cor 8:6, as well as in Col 1:15-16. Later in the chapter he explains in full that 1 Cor 8:6 is an explicit spelling out of the pre-existence of the eternal Son of God (552). In terms of the 'Son of God' language, '[i]t is still rooted in Jewish messianism; but because of Paul's conviction of the Son's preexistence, the language is also used to refer to his prior existence as God before he became one with us in his incarnation' (544 – for this use of God with reference to Christ, cf. also p. 529). Both tensions are held together in Col 1:13-15. Further developing his perception of Paul's understanding of Christ as the pre-existent, eternal Son of God, Fee naturally turns to Phil 2:6-8. He writes:

'It was the One who was eternally in the form of God, and thus equal with God and fully divine, whose humble obedience to his Father in his incarnation led to his death on a cross ... This understanding of salvation – we have become God's children through redemption by God's Son – is what lies behind Paul's utter devotion to Christ the Son' (547).

In an interesting note Fee chides Kim for missing the 'relational aspect of this [Son of God] christological perspective' (548 n. 27). Fee means by this the relationship between Father and Son. Indeed, the echoes of the Abraham and Isaac story from Gen 22 in Eph and Col 'push us beyond a merely positional understanding of the eternal Son of God to a relational one ... And even though Paul himself does not emphasize the relational aspect of the Son to the Father, the language itself pushes us to think in these terms' (550). While on the subject of relationship, Fee moves his discussion on to Gal 2:20, 'to the very personal, and very rare, way Paul expresses his own relationship to the Son of God' (550). Picking up the relation between Father and Son, Fee continues to detail the nature of this relation to creation: 'If the Father is the source and goal of all things, the Son is the divine agent of all things' (552). But what is the origin of this pre-existent Son of God Christology? While Fee provides a couple of potential reasons, he admits that we cannot be sure, but whatever is believed about questions of origin, 'Son of God Christology is not peripheral to Paul's theological enterprise but rather is an essential part of it' (554).

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A tired rant that I probably shouldn’t publish

While I try to keep a level head most of the time, I’m going to fail tonight. I recently ran across one pastor’s blog that was being blasted by ultra conservative Evangelical spokespeople in the most incredibly rude ways without even trying to understand the pastor in question. There are some ultra conservative evangelical Christian blogs out there that really get me utterly (*delete rude word. Insert respectable word*) exasperated – when I bother to read them, that is.

I.e. I get the feeling that they write enough &%@§ to provide an adequate amount of 'raw material' to sufficiently supply for enough dung beetles to colonise the entire surface of Jupiter. Give a coin for every piece of ‘hermeneutic of hate’ rhetoric they write and you'd be a poor man. Gob in a valley every time they wrote something without knowing what the frigging heck they are talking about, you'd have Lake Phlegm within a month.

Ok, so that was all a bit over the top. I’m just being a grumpy sod because England lost to Germany. But it’s like they forget that they are talking about real people in their rants (‘much like me now’, says a tiny part of my conscience. ‘Oh shut the hell up. Germany won’, says another part – and I continue writing) They squeeze you into their little tinny brained and often totally inappropriate categories and blast you with all the poisonous venom they’ve got.

But I have often asked myself to what extent much of their rhetoric is due to heresy. Yes, the watchdogs of supposed orthodox evangelical beliefs – could they be infested with heresy? I fear so. A series that I should have linked to a long time ago is that of the sharp minded David Congdon: The Heresies of American Evangelicalism. It is quite a while ago that I read it, but I remember being impressed as ever with David's argumentation - even if I wasn’t too sure about his charge of an evangelical Pelagian Soteriology. Anyway, do give it a read.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Time to get Psalm 88 out

Well that makes me feel sick down to my balls. England lost to Germany in tonight's international football match at Wembley. I'm sure that there are many depressed English folk wandering back home from their local pubs right now – but let me tell you that they know nothing! Try living in Germany and loosin to em. Oh may the ground swallow me, the hills fall on me. Woe is me...

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

An Evangelical letter to Bush about Israeli-Palestinian peace

Michael L. Westmoreland-White draws attention to a letter sent to President Bush by certain U.S. Evangelical Christian leaders. It endorses a two-state solution for Israeli-Palestinian peace and urges, as Michael summarises, 'more vigorous U.S. engagement in the peace process'. Michael adds that the first signers 'were, of course, denounced by Hagee and the "Christian Zionists"'. Indeed, here one can read Hagee's response in which he states: 'The authors of this letter do not represent the views of the vast majority of Bible-believing mainstream evangelicals in America'.

Perhaps accurate. No offence at anybody intended, but I'm personally glad that the representative view of the majority of mainstream American evangelicals is not my litmus test for truth. I have much to learn about the whole Zionism issue, but I have stuck my neck out on this one on my blog before, and I have seen nothing yet to change my views. Christian Zionism is highly problematic (Michael thinks it is heretical, but I'm not sure I would go that far)

(Hagee is the chap who, at the CUFI's "Washington-Israel Summit" on July 16 2007, called for a pre-emptive military strike against Iran. I couldn't believe my ears when I heard him say that. Utterly shocking)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Hengel offers advice

'[Biblical] Scholars should read more ancient texts and less hypercritical and scholastic secondary literature'

(in Paul Between Damascus and Antioch, [SCM, London: 1997] p.11)

I’m deinde tell ya

Deinde is back, with some decent 'book blurbs' thrown in for good measure (the new feed is:

Keep up the good work, chaps.

Book Review: Fee’s Pauline Christology Part 7

For the series outline, click here.

Chapter 13: 'Jesus as second Adam'.

While tying his findings into the broader Pauline theme of new creation, this chapter primarily asserts the humanity of Christ in terms of Adam and eikon language. In the latter, Fee isolates a twin emphasis: 'first, that the eternal Son of God perfectly bears the divine image and, second, that he did so in his own identity with us in our humanity' (521). And while there is an Adam Christology in Paul, 'in terms of actual language and echoes from Gen 1-2, it is limited to two kinds of passages: first, explicit contrasts between Christ and Adam ... and, second, where the incarnate Christ is seen as the true bearer of the divine image' (523). Fee once again affirms, under the heading 'the Pauline Emphasis – A Truly Human Divine Savior', that:

'Paul nowhere establishes a Christology as such; rather, because for the most part he is dealing with issues in his churches that need correcting – and need good "theology" as the way of doing so – his references to Christ are either soteriological in their focus or put emphasis upon his present reign as Lord' (523-24)

The next two chapters gather the Pauline material under what Fee considers to be 'the two primary christological emphases that emerge regularly in the corpus and that arguably hold the keys to Paul's answer to the question "Who is Christ?"' (482). The two emphases are Christ as the messianic/eternal Son of God and Christ as the messianic exalted 'Lord'.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

A Big Thanks!

I am most grateful to David R Vinson, one of my readers, for generously purchasing me a copy of The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution by Sean B. Carroll. What a lovely surprise it was to receive that in the post - it went straight to the top of my reading list. And what a great read it is! Many, many thanks David, I am so grateful!

I'm not yet finished; I'm still enjoying the book, and thus far it has been a truly enlightening, fun and deeply informative read. Carroll manages to make complex matters understandable to 'interested lay' non-scientists like myself. Arguably it makes the case for descent with modification a too-tough-to-crack nut - a fact many dogmatic creationist conservatives are going to have to start to wake-up to.

It is no secret that I am now a convinced evolutionist. I explained some of my reasons here, if you remember. However, I was actually converted to Christ after listening to a tape on creationism by 'Answers in Genesis' Ken Ham, and I will always be grateful to him for that. 'Crikey', I thought, 'if the bible is scientifically true I can believe in Jesus'. Young people – I was about 16 then – tend not to be too strong at holding tensions and subtleties together. All or nothing. Either seven day creation or Jesus didn't rise from the dead. Mr Ham did me a service at that stage in my intellectual development and through him I came to saving faith in Christ. Hence I am reluctant to directly critique the content of his webpage. Though this article almost provoked a somewhat ungracious poke once upon a time.

My interest in evolution and creationism thus goes deep. This morning I watched a Penn and Teller show debunking Creationism (watch the video here) and I'm now starting to nevertheless think that a 'kid gloves' approach to creationism needs to change amongst responsible theologians. We need to start standing up for truth instead of taking peace measures with the damaging rhetoric of 'young earthers' and the like; we need to vigorously point out the biblical and scientific flaws in creationist argumentation until the message is clear that there are plenty of us evangelicals who are joyfully committed to the authority and inspiration of scripture but are nevertheless deeply convinced by evolutionary theory.

OK, I'm actually not so convinced that will help dyed-in-the-wool creationists, but it sure felt good to write that last sentence.

Oh, and do have a look at this blog if you are interested in such matters.

While on a related subject, from early on dinosaurs always fascinated me. This television series is one of my favourites. Enjoy. And thanks again, David!

Artwork from

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Dubious link of the day

Yes, it is yet another Harry Potter related link, and to be sure it is a bit crude. But I still laughed. 'To the pure, all things are pure' (?)

While on the Potter thingy again, I somehow found this gif rather amusing. And this one, though admittedly it is totally unrelated to anything.

Book Review: Fee’s Pauline Christology Part 6

For the series outline, click here.

Chapter 12: 'Christ: preexistent and incarnate Savior'.

This chapter is essentially a defence of Paul's presuppositional understanding of the pre-existence of Christ, an understanding that evidences a thematic coherence in the numerous contingent circumstances of his letters. He argues for 'Paul's understanding of Christ as preexistent, since it is otherwise nearly impossible to account for such Christ devotion by an avid monotheist unless his understanding of the one God now included the Son of God in the divine identity' (481).

He first turns to material in Paul's argument in 1 Cor 8:1-11:1. Paul includes Jesus in the divine identity in 8:6 'since the one God of the Jews was regularly identified vis-à-vis all other "gods"' (503). However, this is presuppositional 'since nothing christological is at stake here' (504). Naturally, his argument examines Phil 2:6-8 noting that pre-existence must be assumed for a number of reasons, not least because '[o]ne who is already only and merely human does not "become human"!' (507). In light of these explicit statements of pre-existence, the 'sending passages' must be read, he urges. Thus 'Christ's preexistence is the predicate of the whole sentence', Gal 4:4-7 (509-10), as well as assumed in Rom 8:3-4 (510). What is the importance if the incarnation of the pre-existent Christ for Paul? 'The first and most obvious point to make is that Paul clearly understood Christ the Savior himself to be divine; he was not simply a divine agent' (511). Furthermore, and this is a key claim:

'[I]t is surely this greater presupposed reality that accounts in large measure for Paul's Christ devotion ... To be sure, Paul speaks only rarely of "the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me" (Gal 2:20); but the very fact that in this case he identifies Christ as "the Son of God" suggests that what overwhelms Paul about such love is not simply Christ's death on his behalf. What lies behind such language is the overwhelming sense that the pre-existent, and therefore divine, Son of God is the one who by incarnation as well as by crucifixion "died for me"' (512).

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What Would Harry Potter Do?

"Holy Scripture certainly instructs against dabbling in witchcraft. But it doesn't prohibit using imagination in writing, reading and enjoying great fantasy tales."

This quote if from an article by Raymond J. Keating, 'Harry Potter and the Christian allegory', which can be read here.

But an allegory that uses witches? I think of Jesus' use of the Samaritan in his story in answer to the lawyers question 'Who is my neighbour?'. Far from the positive connotations the word has today, Jesus' usage was deeply subversive.

Boy I've got a stinking headache, so I'll stop typing. 'Accio Aspirin'

Friday, August 10, 2007

Book Review: Fee’s Pauline Christology Part 5

For the series outline, click here.

Part 2: Fee's Synthesis

The second part of the book attempts a christological synthesis of the matter analysed in the first part, with a view to understanding Paul's Christology also as it relates to his theology. He wants to synthesise the many disparate parts of Paul's Christology detailed in Part 1, and to do this he thematically gathers the relevant material in the following chapters.

Chapter 11: 'Christ, the divine Savior'. Fee is persuaded that 'to keep faith with the apostle himself, the beginning point will have to be Christ as Savior' (481). This chapter includes examination of Christ's role in salvation plus a short look at the place of 'Christ devotion' in Paul. The former is tied to Christ's pre-existence to emphasise christological significance. The latter is interesting enough to detail in more depth - even though it only fills a few pages in Fee's book. He argues: 'This "Christ devotion" in Paul's theology takes two forms: personal devotion to Christ himself and devotion in the sense of the community's offering worship to Christ as Lord – both are full of christological presuppositions' (488).

First, Christ as object of personal devotion. For Paul, having grown up in a devout Diaspora home, Paul would have known by rote the first commandment. Despite the fact that the language of the first commandment is lacking, at least so Fee claims, Paul gives this devotion now to Christ, especially 'whenever he speaks longingly of his and his church's eschatological future' (488). Fee's concrete arguments to support this 'personal devotion' are as follows: i) Paul's letters are thoroughly christocentric. This claim is developed such that Fee claims:

'In Paul's radically changed worldview, everything is done in relation to Christ. The church exists "in Christ", and everything that believers do is "for Christ", "by Christ", "through Christ", and "for Christ's sake"' (489)

These more generalised formulations find explicit expression in the following: in Paul's language concerning the benefit of single life (cf. 1 Cor 7:32-35) and in the boasting in and knowing Christ language (Phil 3). Importantly, Fee notes:

'The christological significance of this can scarcely be gainsaid, since these words are written by one whose religious heritage includes the Psalter, where this kind of devotion is offered exclusively to Yahweh' (489).

It is also finds expression in Paul's longing to be with Christ in God's final eschatological future (489-90). Finally, Fee notes the significance of the christological grace benedictions in this context.

Second, Christ as object of worship. Fee notes three expressions of such 'worship' of Christ in the Pauline corpus. i) the Lord's Table which is 'the Christian version of a meal in honor of a deity' (491). This is then tied to the association of this meal with the Passover meal, and the divine judgments against those who dishonour the deity at this meal. Fee concludes that everything about the Lord's Supper material especially in 1 Cor 11 'assumes and asserts the highest kind of Christology; and all of this in direct relationship with Christ as divine Savior' (492). ii) Singing hymns to and about Christ. Fee supports this claim with reference to material in Eph and Col, concluding that 'Christ often assumes the dual role of being sung to and sung about – precisely as in the Psalter, whose hymns are both addressed to and inform about God' (493). iii) Prayer addressed to Christ. Drawing upon material in 1 and 2 Thess, 1 Cor 16:22 and 2 Cor 12:8-10 Fee notes: 'such devotion to Christ is in many ways more telling theologically than actual "theological statements" themselves' (494 – here he approving notes Hurtado that theology surely arises out devotion to Christ, in n. 29). What has this to do with Christology as Fee defines it? '[T]he worship is both because of what he [Christ] did for us and especially because of who he is as divine Savior.

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I was only taking the p

My recent post – Kanehbosem – didn't go down well with some it seems, particularly the director of the film about Cannabis in the holy anointing oil (cf. the trailer here), and the webmaster of the webpage from which I cited much of the material. Indeed, as you can read in the comments of my post, the sourpuss asked me to remove the pictures of the bearded and interesting headwear Reverend Baldasaro and the Reverend Tucker. Pity.

He also felt my post was narrow-minded and uneducated. But as I pointed out in my response to his comment, I wasn't trying to be either.

I was just taking the piss.

And if the film producer was referring to my comments about the statements on the webpage to the effect that both Catholic and Protestant churches are the antichrist, to be noted is that I agreed with their reasoning:

"How true. Some of these stupid antichrist churches have bothered about defining oneself as Christian by faith in atoning work of Christ, works of justice and mercy, justification by faith etc. when all along they should have been skinny dipping in enough Cannabis to keep Snoop Dogg happy for a year" (italics mine)

In answer to their question: 'If Jesus was called "Christ" by receiving the Holy Anointing Oil, how are we to be called Christians?', once again I agreed:

"Indeedy. Unless you've been smeared from head to foot in half a bag of Marijuana, don't you have the cheek to go calling yourself a Christian"

Righty ho, I hope I've cleared that issue up.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Harry Potter ‘gets saved’?

JK Rowling reveals Christian basis for 'Harry Potter'

The Jesus and the Eyewitnesses series

Oddly, I forgot to complete my series on Richard Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses, so I've at last updated the links and reposted this page. Thank you to all who took part in the discussions surrounding that series. I learnt a lot in the process. I hope that my posts will ‘whet the appetite’ of those considering buying the book to dig into the details of the arguments for themselves. Richard can’t justify every bold claim in an interview - that is why he wrote the book -, and neither can I in this series - that would be copyright infringement! Best bet is to buy the book ...

The chapter contents of the book with links are as follows:

1. From the Historical Jesus to the Jesus of Testimony - part 1, part 2, part 3.

2. Papias on the Eyewitnesses - part 4, part 5 (Richard’s comments on the generated discussion).

3. Names in the Gospel Traditions - part 6, part 7 (Bauckham responds II).

4. Palestinian Jewish Names - part 8 (Bauckham responds III).

5. The Twelve - part 9, part 10.

6. Eyewitnesses “from the Beginning” - part 11, part 12, part 13.

7. The Petrine Perspective in Mark - part 14, part 15, part 16.

8. Anonymous Persons in Mark's Passion Narrative - part 17 (Bauckham responds IV).

9. Papias on Mark and Matthew - part 18.

10. Three Models of Oral Tradition - part 19.

11. Transmitting the Jesus Traditions - part 20.

12. Anonymous Tradition or Eyewitness Testimony? - part 21.

13. Eyewitness Memory - part 22.

14. The Gospel of John as Eyewitness Testimony - part 23.

15. The Witness of the Beloved Disciple - part 24, part 25.

16. Papias on John - part 26.

17. Polycrates and Irenaeus on John - part 27.

18. The Jesus of Testimony - part 28.

Part 29 - A podcast summary

Part 30 - Bauckham's response to my biblical-studies colloquium questions

Also see here for my Q&A session with Richard Bauckham about the book.

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Book Review: Fee’s Pauline Christology Part 4

For the series outline, click here.

The next section examines Jesus as the kurios of Septuagint passages cited or alluded to in 1 Cor. This involves analysis of 1:2, 31; 2:16; 10:19-22 and 26. While the exegesis varies in persuasiveness, particularly powerful is the association of 1:2 with Gen 12:8, Joel 2:32 (LXX 3.5) plus verses in Deuteronomy, the Psalms and the Prophetic writings. He concludes: 'God's people are still distinguished as those who "call on the name of the Lord"; but the Lord on whom they call is Christ himself' (129). 1:31 is fruitfully read in light of Jer 9:23 LXX:

'The christological implication of such a claim is striking indeed, since the context in Jeremiah has to do with Yahweh's absolute claim to loyalty over all other gods. That Lord, now Jesus Christ, is the one in whom the Corinthians are to boast' (130)

10:20 is then read with Deut 32:17 and 10:22 with Deut 32:21. He concludes:

'Just as Israel made the Lord = Yahweh jealous by sacrificing to "no god" demons, so the Corinthians, by attendance at pagan feasts, are sharing in what is demonic and thus making jealous their Lord = Christ, in whose death and resurrection they participate when they eat and drink at his table' (133).

The next section attends to Kurios Jesus in terms of divine prerogatives. This involves analysis of 'grace' language in 1:3 and 16:23, noting the interchange between God and Lord on this issue (134-35). He also notes the adoption of a Yahweh phrase from the OT, namely 'the day of the Lord' in 1:8, language which Paul now attributes to Christ. 1:10 and 5:3-4 uses the 'In the name of the Lord' formula.

'The point, of course, is that he uses "the name of o kurios", which in the Septuagint is the Divine Name for Yahweh. Here "the name of the Lord" has been transferred altogether to Christ' (135).

In relation to 5:4: 'What is significant christologically is that a judgment pronounced in the Lord's name belongs uniquely to Yahweh, the God of Israel; for Paul, it belongs equally to Christ Jesus' (135). 1:1, 17 and the sent/commissioned by Christ language is fruitfully read in terms of Isa 6:8, and 'the Lord of glory' in 2:8 reflects, Fee maintains, OT themes, such as the king of Glory in Ps 24. Included in this section is analysis of such language in 1 Cor as 'the Lord has Given/Assigned (3:5; 7:17; 12:4), the Lord judges (4:4-5; 11:32), 'if the Lord wills/permits' (4:19; 16:7), 'the power of the Lord Jesus' in 5:4, striving to please the Lord in 7:32, the 'command of the Lord' in 7:10, 12, 25; 9:14 and14:36-37 and the being under Christ's law in 9:21. With Fee's examination of this passage:

'[W]e come to the end of Paul's attribution to Christ as kurios a large number of exact phrases or otherwise divine prerogatives that in the OT belong to God alone, not to angles or to human beings. Although several, or any one, of them might seem incidental and relatively unimportant, their cumulative affect is considerable'. (142, my italics).

Before finishing this extensive chapter, Fee addresses certain texts in 1 Cor that imply subordination. He asserts:

'Finally, we need to examine carefully the two other texts in this letter [besides 15:28 examine elsewhere] that specifically suggest the Son to be in a subordinate relationship to the Father: 1 Cor 3:23; 11:3. And one must be especially careful here because the issue of "being" is simply not part of Paul's epistolary discourse; his concern is always with the role or function of the Son in the divine plan of redemption' (142 italics mine).

In relation to 3:23 ('Christ is of God') he argues that 'such statements as these reflect functional subordination and have to do with Christ's function as Savior, not with his being as such' (142). Further: 'God is the source and goal of everything, both creation and redemption, while Christ is the divine agent of creation and redemption. In this sense, "Christ is of God"' (143). In relation to 11:3 and God as the 'head' of Christ, he denies a subordination/submission relationship between husband and wife in this context, and argues that '[a]lthough one cannot be certain here, most likely it was a useful metaphor to express something of a chronology of "salvation history" (147).

In conclusion to this important chapter, Fee makes five points that he believes his exegesis has demonstrated: 1) The important christological themes found in this letter are as follows: 'the exalted Christ as messianic King and Son; Christ as "the Lord" of ever so many Septuagint texts where "the Lord" is Yahweh; Christ's sharing with the Father a great many divine prerogatives' (147). 2) He has found clear christological pre-existence statements. 3) 1 Cor affirms a divine economy, not ontological, subordination of the Son to the Father. 4) Christ's humanity is clearly affirmed. 5) These points are never a point of argumentation in Paul, as such, but assumed. Finally, and 6):

'the most challenging matter of all remains: the danger of analysis without adequate appreciation for the absolute centrality of Christ for Paul, an analysis of what Paul believed about Christ by way of what he says about his Lord that fails to comprehend and communicate his utter and total devotion to Christ—a devotion that a good Jew could give only to his God ... And at the end of the day, however one handles the language of Paul's express statements about Christ, there is no genuine Christology that does not account for Paul's utter devotion to and longing for Christ, which finds expression here and in all of his letters' (148).

In the following posts we turn to Fee's synthesis section.

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Link of the day

Karl Barth und Hans Joachim Iwand: Das Darmstädter Wort von 1947

Harry Potter 7

Chris Tilling: Anja and I have just finished reading the seventh and final book in the Harry Potter series: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Two words: Absolutely fantastic!

This was the best in the whole series. It had us both on the edges of our seats for hours, and the ending couldn't have been much better.

I know some feel a bit odd reading about warlocks and such like knowing the things the OT has to say about them, but think of all the things Daniel and his friends had to study while in the courts of Babylon. But 'to these four young men God gave knowledge and skill in every aspect of literature and wisdom' (Daniel 1:17).

This last in the series was probably the best novel I've ever read – though I admit that I'm not really a novel man.

Anja Tilling: I suppose the fact that my sweetest of all husbands got about 99,98% of that book read out to him while getting his head stroked did a lot to inspire an even more enthused opinion of it.

Monday, August 06, 2007


It is quite amazing what some can do with a single verse of the bible. Some of our friends in the good old US of A have dreamt up yet a new church based on ...

Exodus 30:23.

Which I'm sure you all know off by heart:

"Take the finest spices: of liquid myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet-smelling cinnamon half as much, that is, two hundred fifty, and two hundred fifty of aromatic cane"

Look closely at that word '~f,boß-hnEq.W'', usually translated as fragrant or aromatic cane. For those who cannot read Hebrew, these words are pronounced something like Kaneh-bosem. Which is, of course ….


That's right, the OT anointing oil, so say our overseas friends, must be the drug we all know today as Marijuana.* This means that all the Temple implements, priests etc. were coated with enough Cannabis to keep The Doors churning out another five albums.

Now the kicker. Christ of course means 'anointed one'. Perhaps you may see where this new church is going with all of this …

Does your Church have the false anointing?

The question really is: Does it smell of Cannabis?

Their reasoning pushes on: 'If Jesus was called "Christ" by receiving the Holy Anointing Oil, how are we to be called Christians? One would assume that we must also be anointed with the same, Holy Anointing Oil, or Nazar Oil, as described in Exodus 30:23.'

Indeedy. Unless you've been smeared from head to foot in half a bag of Marijuana, don't you have the cheek to go calling yourself a Christian.

In fact, while they are at it, if you aren't slam-dunking enough Cannabis in your holy oil to get a filled football stadium high as a kite, thou art the antichrist. They argue:

"But as "Christ" means "the anointed" What does "Anti-Christ" mean? "Anti" in Greek means "Opposed to" or "Instead of". The Anti-Christ would then mean "Opposed to the anointed" or "Instead of the anointed".

For false Christ's or (false anointed ones) and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect. Matthew 24:24

Today the Roman Catholic Churches, use Pure Olive Oil, sprinkled with powered Balsam, and blessed by a Bishop at lent. Here we find the "instead of anointing".

The Coptic Orthodox use a Myron oil which consists of over 30 spices. The Myron Oil is based on a tradition that Saint Mark took with him the spices used at Jesus burial to Alexandria. Whether or not this is true is unknown, but here again we have the "Instead of Oil"

There are other Churches that boil down various other configurations of the Holy Oil. Some include wine, salt, and other ingredients, boiled with oil, as the "instead of Holy Oil".

Most protestant Churches offer no anointing at all. Here we find the "opposed to anointing".

It appears, that in the Christian World, so preoccupied with calling themselves, Christians or "The Anointed Ones", we have no place for the "Holy Anointing Oil of God", as described in the Exodus 30:23"

How true. Some of these stupid antichrist churches have bothered about defining oneself as Christian by faith in atoning work of Christ, works of justice and mercy, justification by faith etc. when all along they should have been skinny dipping in enough Cannabis to keep Snoop Dogg happy for a year.

'The Anointing breaks the yoke', they note at the bottom of the page.

The Assembly of the Church of the Universe is the not-at-all new age sounding denomination giving their hearty support of this teaching. Their declaration:

"As Members of the Church of the Universe and Ordained Clergy,
we declare our ancient and common law right to freedom of worship
and our right to freedom in the administration and the co-ordination
of all sacraments, Baptism, Holy Matrimony, Last Rights, Exorcism and
Communion and of the 12 fruits of God's Tree of Life, Marijuana
as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be. Amen."

Well that is an original twist. And oh yes, they hold marijuana to be the sacred Tree of Life from Genesis.

They put the whole business into one punchy sentence: "either Jesus used marijuana or he was not the Christ"

I like the sound of this church. We could spice up our church incense no end with this proof-text – bring a whole new meaning to the 'better is one day in your courts' Psalmist language. May just keep me coming back for the Sunday service...

But can I really join? Here are pictures of the Reverend Baldasaro and the Reverend Tucker of The Assembly of the Church of the Universe:

With a couple of small adjustments to my fashion, and yea baby, I'll be swinging with my mojo right along to the next service:

Oh yes, and they believe in nudity:

"Do you think Jesus was a nudist?"
Reverend Tucker: "He was, under his clothes. Look, he said it the way it is. I forgot where in the book he said it but he said something like "into this world you're brought naked and from it naked you will go."
Reverend Baldasaro: "Hey man, it's natural. You don't hurt anybody by doing it and we want to do it on our own ground, not in any middle class place. We want to be free."

As it turns out, they don't consider themeselves to be Christian, they just use Christian language like 'Jesus' and 'Church' and try to exegete the bible. While their exegesis and treatment of the bible is not the most convincing (-understatement mode off-), who is to say that they may not be right about their right to use Cannabis? What would you say?

* Whether the word under question really means 'Cannabis' is of course questionable. HALOT prefers to translate 'Kaneh' as reed or stalk, 'Bosem' as balsam oil or perfume which would fit well with its second usage in the above proof-text (together with cinnamon). Cf. also the 'measuring reed' in Ezek 40:3 (kaneh). On 'Bosem', cf. Isaiah 3:24 'Instead of perfume there will be a stench'. As for Christ's anointing and the citations from the early church in their argument, I'll let you work out the problems in their argumentation - Perhaps Jer 6:20 can also put things in perspective: "Of what use to me is frankincense that comes from Sheba, or sweet cane (Kaneh) from a distant land? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable, nor are your sacrifices pleasing to me."

Friday, August 03, 2007

The Review of Fee’s Pauline Christology

My review of Gordon D. Fee's Pauline Christology: An Exegetical-Theological Study (Peabody, Mass: Hendrickson, 2007)

I'll update this post with the appropriate links each time.

Part 1: Fee's introduction

The analysis section (longer posts)

Part 2: Fee's analysis of Christology in 1 Thess

Part 3: Fee's analysis of Christology in 1 Cor (A)

Part 4: Fee's analysis of Christology in 1 Cor (B)

The synthesis section (shorter posts)

Part 5: Fee's Chapter 11: 'Christ, the divine Savior'

Part 6: Fee's Chapter 12: 'Christ: preexistent and incarnate Savior'

Part 7: Fee's Chapter 13: 'Jesus as second Adam'

Part 8: Fee's Chapter 14: 'Jesus: Jewish Messiah and Son of God'

Part 9: Fee's Chapter 15: 'Jesus: Jewish Messiah and exalted Lord'

Part 10: Fee's Finally, Chapter 16: 'Christ and the Spirit: Paul as a proto-Trinitarian'

Part 11: An assessment (sort of)

Or click here to see them all on one page.

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Book Review: Fee’s Pauline Christology Part 3

Christology in 1 Corinthians

In his introduction to this, the largest of his chapters in part 1, Fee, albeit tentatively, suggests that 1 Corinthians evidences 'an early crisis in Christology' (84). To pursue this case he notes the following: In 8:1-11:1 'Paul's initial response to [the problems in Corinth in relation to food sacrificed to idols] ... is to broaden their understanding of the "one God" so as to include the "one Lord", whose death for the person with the "weak conscience" is being brushed aside' (84-84). Much will hang on his understanding of 1 Cor 8-11:1 as shall be seen. Second, in relation to the Lord's Supper he notes that 'the failures and differences within the community are reflected in their dishonoring Christ himself at the meal in his honour' (cf. 11:20) (85). He then notes 16:22, the anathema and the Maranatha.

Before he turns to his main examination of specific texts, he somewhat out of the blue writes: 'Indeed, it is Paul's utter devotion to Christ that must catch our attention, since it is the devotion that a devout Jew could give only to his God' (86). Finally turning to the texts in more depth he first examines material under the heading: 'Christ: Preexistent Lord and Agent of Creation'. Importantly he claims: 'The proper starting point for examining the Christology of this letter is 1 Cor 8:6, which could well serve as the starting point for any discussion of Pauline Christology' (88).

To allow Fee to summarise his own course of argumentation in this chapter, from here the data to be examined are grouped under three heads:

'(1) texts that pick up on the theme of Christ's preexistence; (2) texts that reflect a "Son of God" Christology with roots in Jewish messianism; (3) texts that reflect the kurios Christology that dominates the Thessalonian correspondence. At the same time, we will look at the issue of Wisdom Christology, Adam Christology, and Spirit Christology as these are argued from various texts ... We will conclude by examining two miscellaneous texts (3:23; 11:3) that do not easily fit these three major categories' (94).

Christ as pre-existent with Israel. Naturally Fee examines the import of 10:4 and notes: 'It is precisely the presence of Christ in Israel's story that will make all of this [argument] work as a warning to the Corinthians' (94). Furthermore, he rather convincingly provides reason that 10:4 is not about pre-existent Wisdom at all (96-7). There is a great discussion on the textual variant in relation to 10:9, and the Christ/Lord matter. Arguing that 'Christ' is the original, he concludes:

'Paul has no qualms in pointing out that the "Lord" whom they are putting to the test is the same Christ whom Israel tested in the desert and that the Israelites were overthrown because of it. It is the presuppositional nature of this assertion that is so striking, since Christ's preexistence is what makes such an argument possible at all' (98).

Second, Jesus as Messianic/Eternal Son of God. Fee wants to show that 'the Son's role as the Jewish Messiah, Israel's hoped-for eschatological king' is evident in 1 Cor to a great extent. I.e. Christ is not just the 'eternal Son of the Father' (cf. 99). To make this claim he examines numerous texts. In light of 1 Cor 1:13-2:16, Fee argues that vv. 18-25 are such that Christ should best be translated as Messiah.

This leads to an excurses on the Crucified Messiah and Jewish Wisdom in which he torpedoes the idea of Wisdom Christology on p. 102-6. In relation to 1 Cor 1:30 and 2:7 Fee similarly waxes against the influence of 'Wisdom Christology'. With all of this Fee is asserting that such texts do not lend to Wisdom Christology, but rather to a messianic understanding of Paul's use 'Christ'. Such messianic overtones Fee finds in a lengthy examination of 1 Cor 15:23-28. Naturally Fee is obliged to address the apparently subordinationist Christology in vv. 27-28. Fee responds:

'Although it could easily be argued that this implies some form of "eternal subordination" of the Son to the Father, it is unlikely that Paul is thinking in terms of Christ's person here, but rather of his role in salvation history' (113).

In the next subsection, Fee addresses the meaning of Jesus as Second Adam in 1 Cor. He essentially battles a Spirit-Christology, the amalgamation of Spirit with Christ in 1 Cor, and affirms the notion of Christ as the image of God.

However, Paul's primary way of speaking of Christ in 1 Cor is with the title kurios. The next, and substantial, section examines Paul's understanding of Jesus as kurios in numerous passages in 1 Cor. First, he asserts that 1 Cor 16:22 is 'one of the most significant uses of this title in the entire corpus' (120). Accepting the covenantal context of the verse (120 n. 93) he writes:

'It is therefore of more passing interest that both of the contrasting uses of anathema in this letter focuses on a possible attitude toward the lordship of Christian this early Christian community. And thus in each case Paul both asserts that lordship and urges love for the Lord as absolutely basic to Christian existence. This carries its own christological weight. Elsewhere Paul can speak of "loving God"...; only here does he speak of loving Christ. The fact that Paul can make such an interchange is in itself a noteworthy christological moment' (121)

Turning to 1 Cor 5:6-8; 10:16-17; and 11:17-34 – the Eucharist meal texts – Fee notes that 'meals in honor of a deity were part of the entire ancient Near Eastern world, including Israel' (122). He adds:

'What seems certain, the, on the basis of the passing reference in 5:7, is that Paul and the early church understood this meal as a replacement of the Passover meal, so that Christ the Lord has assumed the role of honoree that in Judaism had for centuries belonged to Yahweh alone and that in surrounding cultures belonged to the various "gods" and "lords" of the pagan cults' (123).

Fee then notes, in relation to 1 Cor 12:3, the significance of confessing the name of the Lord by the Spirit: 'The devotion that was once the special province of Yahweh alone is now to be directed toward Christ himself: the Lord is Jesus' (124). Hence 'this confession presupposes not just Paul's high Christology but that of the entire early church' (124).

Further, in 1 Cor 12:4-6 Fee widens his perspective onto what he calls 'the Divine Triad':

'Paul simultaneously includes the Spirit and the Lord within the divine identity, while placing their work within the larger context of God the Father. Our present concern is to point out the considerable christological implications of such a text. In this letter in particular, where Christ's preexistence is explicitly put forth as presuppositional to our present understanding of God (8:6), this passage assumes this reality, just as it does of the Spirit ... A high Christology is simply presupposed in such texts' (125)

Finishing this section on Jesus as kurios, Fee examines 1 Cor 9:1 and Paul's encounter with the risen Lord. He concludes that the words 'Have I not seen Jesus our Lord?' 'serves for us as the primary key to our understanding Paul's passion for the gospel and his utter devotion to Christ' (127).

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Ancient Wisdom

An ancient Chinese Proverb:

'Even if you have to type two papers for an imminent conference, if you start to write like a monkey stoned to his eyeballs on crack jabbing at a keyboard, take is as a sign that one should stop typing and go to bed'

After my last few pathetic paragraphs on a paper I'll be presenting in a few weeks, I am inclined to agree. Well said, 我去和那要 of the 没作看 Dynasty. Mr Miyagi couldn't have put it any better.

Book Review: Fee’s Pauline Christology Part 2

The second part of my review of Gordon D. Fee's Pauline Christology: An Exegetical-Theological Study (Peabody, Mass: Hendrickson, 2007).

Part 1: Fee's Analysis

After the introduction the book is divided into two main parts. The first is an exegetical analysis of the Christology of the various Pauline letters. This study works through the letters in chronological arrangement and includes all of the canonically Pauline letters, namely also the disputed 2 Thessalonians, Colossians, Ephesians, and even the Pastoral Epistles. The order of Fee's study is as follows: 1 Thess, 2 Thess, 1 Cor, 2 Cor, Gal, Rom, Col (and Phil), Eph, Phil, 1 Tim, Titus and 2 Tim. Given that Fee's study in this section is rather repetitive, to obtain a flavour of the sort of analysis Fee pursues it will only be necessary to overview in more depth a couple of these chapter. Below is an overview of his treatment of Christology in 1 Thess and the next post looks at his analysis of 1 Corinthians, the former as he there sets forth his programme and the latter as it is the most extensive of the chapters in this section.

Fee's analysis of Christology in 1 Thessalonians

In the introduction, Fee claims that:

'The Christology that presents itself in these letters is especially noteworthy, first of all because there is not a self-consciously christological moment in either of them. That is, there is no passage where Paul is deliberately trying to set forth a Christ as divine (or human, for that matter) or to explain the nature of his divinity' (32)

But, he continues, a 'remarkably high Christology ... [is] presupposed at every turn in the most off-handed of ways ... [including] statements that by their very nature would seem to put considerable pressure on ... monotheism' (33). To flesh these claims out, Fee examines first Jesus as messianic/eternal Son of God.

He argues that with the first mention of the title Son in the NT, 'the presuppositional beginning point for this title is Jewish messianism' (40). But there is also a double sense: the Son is reigning as Jewish Messiah, but also as the eternal Son. He asks: 'But would this double sense have been available to the Thessalonians? Most likely so' (40). Why? These Christians knew their bible. 'One may therefore also assume that they themselves had already been instructed in the (now) double sense of Jesus as Son of God' (41).

Turning to an analysis of Jesus as the kurios of Septuagint Yahweh Texts, Fee claims that the title was used presumably in deliberate contradistinction from Caesar as kurios, and notes that the title is never employed (apart from in certain citations from the LXX), to refer to God. God is Father or Qeos. He continues:

'This usage in 1 Thessalonians can be conveniently packaged under two headings: (1) the intertextual use of the Septuagint's kurios, where the Tetragammaton (YHWH) has been so translated but where the kurios of those texts now refers to Christ; (2) texts where Christ as kurios shares in the divine purpose and activities with God the Father, especially where prayer is freely offered to Christ as it would be to God the Father' (42).

These general comments are followed by examination of numerous passages: First, 1 Thess 3:13, which he examines in light of Zach 14:5: 'Then the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with him'; 'And may he so strengthen your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints'. Fee concludes: 'the future coming of Yahweh is now to be understood as the future coming of "our Lord Jesus' (44). The LXX text is too similar to be an accident. He next examines 1 Thess 4:16 ('For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel's call and with the sound of God's trumpet, will descend from heaven') in light of Ps 46:6 (LXX): 'God has gone up with a shout, the LORD with the sound of a trumpet'. Once again the significance of speaking of the Lord Jesus in light of the Lord Yahweh of the LXX text is noted.

This leads into a section that notes other kurios phrases and language in 1 Thess that echo Septuagint usage, namely: 'The word of the Lord', 'I charge you by the Lord' (1 Thess 5:27 and Gen 24:3), 'The day of the Lord' (1 Thess 5:2 and Joel 1:15, 2:1), 'The Lord as avenger' (1 Thess 4:6 [Fee powerfully contradicts those who challenge if Paul really means 'Christ' by this 'Lord' - 47 n. 50]; Ps 93:1 LXX), and 'the Lord our Hope' (1 Thess 1:3; Ps 31:24; 33:22).

Finally, Fee devotes a section to analyse the texts in 1 Thess in which he examines how God and the kurios share in divine purposes and activities. First, the Church exists in God and Christ (1 Thess 1:1), God and Christ being joined by the same preposition. Importantly, he notes: 'The church exists simultaneously in relationship to the heavenly pair' (49). Demonstrating the importance of Fee's understanding of the hermeneutical significance of Paul's thinking as it is expressed in 1 Cor 8:6, he argues that the designations 'God' and 'Lord' are to be understood in terms of the Shema. In an important section Fee examines Paul's understanding here of the Divine Presence at the Parousia:

'In the OT the divine Presence is closely associated with the divine Glory, as the interchange of these terms regarding tabernacle and temple makes certain. For Paul the final goal of everything is to be at last in the divine Presence, now shared equally by Father and Son' (51).

The final subsection examines the material in 1 Thess that demonstrates that Christ the Lord was invoked in prayer. This is clear from the Grace Benediction of 1 Thess 5:28 (which would be universally recognised as a prayer-benediction were only God involved - cf. 52), and the important passage, 1 Thess 3:11-13. He notes that Paul can pray to both God, then the Lord.

'Here is a strict monotheist praying with ease to both the Father and the Son, focusing first on the one and then the other, and without a sense that his monotheism is being stretched or is in some kind of danger' (54).

In conclusion, Fee notes that clear distinctions have always been kept, in 1 Thess, between God and Lord Jesus. However, and second, and citing Fee at more length:

'[P]recisely because Christ as the messianic Son of God is also seen as the present reigning Lord in heaven, Paul can speak of either God or Christ in ways that reflect their shared purposes and activities. At the same time, however, he feels quite free to pray to both together or to one or the other, depending on the perceived need and situation. And Paul can do this as a thoroughly monotheistic Jew, for whom the living and true God is the one and only God over all pagan idolatries ... it requires us to expand our own understanding of the identity of the one God, which can embrace both Father and Son while still being only one God' (77-78).

Fee thus speaks here of a 'christological modification of this monotheism', stating that '[t]he one God has a Son who, as the exalted Lord, shares the divine identity and the divine prerogatives' (78).

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