Self-Designations and Group Identity– Part Seven


It will come as some surprise to many that the term 'Christian' or in this case 'christianos' in the Greek, is found exactly three times in the NT, no more, and no less. Paul does not use the term at all, he rather speaks of those who are 'in Christ', which has a different sense than 'christianos'. The former tells you where they are, the latter tells you who they are the adherents of. The three NT occurrences are two in Acts (11.25-26; 26.28), and one in 1 Peter 4.16. That's all folks. … [Read more...]

The Life of Pi—- Gets a 3.14 rating


Films involving India and Indians have been all the rage of late, since at least Slum Dog Millionaire. In the Life of Pi, we have another such film, which has a profoundly religious subtext and subtexture. Pi Patel (short for Piscine--- a boy named after a French swimming pool) is a boy who grows up in a zoo and botanical garden in India. Pi is bright, and deeply religious.... and he samples different religions like a football player at a steak buffet table. He likes them all, even says … [Read more...]

Bockmuehl on St. Peter

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Bockmuehl’s New Book on Peterby larryhurtadoAs you'll note from the announcements about the conference on the Apostle Peter to be held here in New College 4-6 July 2013, one of the featured speakers is Professor Markus Bockmuehl (Oxford University). Indicative of his expertise in matters concerning Peter is his latest book: Simon Peter in Scripture and Memory: The New Testament Apostle in the Early Church (Baker Academic Press, 2012). As I wrote after reading the proofs several m … [Read more...]

NTW and BW3 on Justification … [Read more...]

Paul’s Thanksgivings


While it might seem counter-intuitive to many ministers today, Paul gives thanks in numerous of his letters for the very persons and things that often caused him apoplexy. A good example of this can be seen in 1 Corinthians 1 where Paul not only thanks God the for Corinthians, but thanks God for their various spiritual gifts, the exercising of which was causing all sorts of chaos in Corinth (see e.g. 1 Cor. 11-14). Was Paul being disingenuous? No, not really, but what he was doing was … [Read more...]

Self-Designations and Group Identity— Part Six


In the next chapter of Trebilco's monograph the focus is on a phrase only found in Acts, and then only eight times--- 'the Way' (not to be confused with the modern sectarian movement which used the same identifier). The term in fact is only used after the first eight chapters of Acts-- 9.2;18.25-26;19.9,23; 24.22 are general uses, and Paul uses the term in 22.4 and 24.14. In Acts 9 and 22 it is clear that Luke uses it of Christians before Paul's conversion, thus associating the term with the … [Read more...]

Self- Designation and Group Identity– Part Six


Perhaps the most surprising chapter in Paul Trebilco's new monograph is the one on disciples. The term 'mathetai' is used some 261 times in the NT, being by far the most common designation in the Gospels for Jesus' followers, but it is used nowhere outside the Gospels and Acts in the NT for the followers of Jesus. For example, there is no use of this term anywhere in Paul's letters or indeed any book that comes after Acts in the canon. We can break down the usage as follows--- Mt. 72 times, … [Read more...]

Self-Designation and Group Identity– Part Five


There is probably no more used, or abused term for the early Christians than the term 'ekklesia'. Trebilco seeks to set the discussion on a sounder footing, He rightly warns from the outset that the translation 'church' is just too anachronistic is almost any text where we find the term 'ekklesia' The background of the term is well known. From at least the fifth century B.C. the term referred to the democratic political assemblies in Greece. Acts 19.39 shows the term still being used in this … [Read more...]

Self-Designation and Group Identity– Part Four


In some ways the most interesting and enlightening chapter in Paul Trebilco's recent monograph is the discussion about the hagioi--- the holy ones or saints. The plural term hagioi is used some 60 times in the NT, predominantly in Paul where we have 30 examples, not counting the seven more in Ephesians and one in the Pastorals. What is most interesting about the use of this term of early Christians is that in the OT, whether the Hebrew or the LXX, the term is used in the first instance of … [Read more...]