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Divine Initiative and the Christology of the Damascus Road Encounter - Timothy W R Churchill

Divine Initiative and the Christology of the Damascus Road Encounter


Published: 28th April 2010
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The Damascus road encounter between Jesus and Paul is foundational to understanding the early development of Christology, and, indeed, Christianity, since it is the first appearance of the post-ascension Jesus contained in the earliest Christian literature. This study examines the encounter as it is described in Paul's epistles and the book of Acts. Since Paul interprets his experience within the Jewish tradition, this study begins with a survey of epiphany texts in the Old Testament and other ancient Jewish literature. This reveals two new categories for appearances of God, angels, and other heavenly beings: Divine Initiative and Divine Response. This survey also finds two distinct patterns of characterization for God and other heavenly beings. These findings are then applied to Paul's accounts of his Damascus road encounter. Paul depicts the encounter as a Divine Initiative epiphany. This conclusion is significant, since it argues against the current view that the encounter was a merkabah vision. Paul's Christology in the Damascus road encounter is also significant, since Jesus is characterized as divine. Such divine characterization is not typical for heavenly beings in first-century CE epiphany texts. Thus, a high Pauline Christology appears to be present at a very early point. The three accounts of the Damascus road encounter in Acts also fit the pattern of Divine Initiative--not merkabah--and exhibit the high Christology of Paul's accounts. In fact, the three accounts in Acts are shown to form an intentionally increasing sequence culminating in the revelation that Paul was called to be an apostle by Jesus himself on the Damascus road. ""Writing with fresh insight, Tim Churchill provides readers focus and perspective on the One who appeared to Paul on the Damascus road. His book captures the essence of the developing Christology of the early believers through close examination of this epiphany. He likens it to earlier encounters in the history where God takes the initiative in divine visitations. He links the person of Jesus Christ directly with the Holy One of Israel deepening our understanding of God. I commend this book to biblical scholars and serious students of Scripture."" --Harry G. Gardner President, Acadia Divinity College Dean of Theology, Acadia University ""This clear, lucid, and readable book approaches the Pauline and Lukan accounts of Saul/Paul's Damascus road encounter from the perspective of the one who appeared to Paul. This is a fresh approach, since previous studies have focused on the effects of the encounter on Paul himself, but with little attempt--if any--to consider what we learn about the one who appeared. Churchill's approach adds to our understanding of the early Christians' beliefs about Jesus, and also contributes to our understanding of how the early believers came to those beliefs."" --from the Foreword by Steve Walton London School of Theology Timothy Churchill recently completed his doctorate at the London School of Theology.

List of Figuresp. ix
List of Tablesp. x
Forewordp. xi
Prefacep. xiii
Acknowledgmentsp. xv
Abbreviationsp. xvi
Survey of Literature
The Christology of the Damascus Road Encounter
Literary-Theoretical Methodology
Ancient Jewish Epiphaniesp. 32
Survey of Literature
Literary Aspects of Ancient Jewish Epiphanies
Paul's Epistlesp. 98
Literary Aspects of the Damascus Road Encounter
Acts 9, 22, and 26p. 191
Literary Aspects of the Damascus Road Encounter
The Significance of the Damascus Road Encounterp. 250
Ancient Jewish Epiphanies
The Damascus Road Encounter According to Paul
The Damascus Road Encounter According to Acts
Narrative Structure of Selected Epiphaniesp. 255
Epiphany in Non-Jewish Literaturep. 258
Bibliographyp. 261
Author Indexp. 283
Subject Indexp. 289
Ancient Document Indexp. 297
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9781608993253
ISBN-10: 1608993256
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 312
Published: 28th April 2010
Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.9 x 15.2  x 1.7
Weight (kg): 0.45