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In Matthean research, the quest for a suitable key to the understanding of the sixth woe (Mt 23.27–28) has not yet provided results that are fully convincing. Against the backdrop of Jewish everyday life, the image of positively connoted white tombs seems to have no relevant point of reference. Rather, white is understood as a warning colour in the context of tombs as it is intended to mark and warn against the tombs’ impurity. In contrast to these findings, the article confirms the existence of prominent white graves which were considered beautiful in first-century Judaism: the tombs of the patriarchs at Hebron and the tomb of King David at Jerusalem, both artfully embellished by Herod the Great. In the light of these parallels, the logic of the comparison, which serves as an argument for the woe of Mt 23.27–28, falls into place and perhaps provides an additional insight into Matthew's view of Herod the Great.
The image of the narrow door in the Gospel of Luke is to be read in the context of a symposium in a Roman domus. The elaboration of the Q-material is related to patron-client-relationships and their architectural and cultural conditions (salutatio, cena). By announcing an eschatological turn of events the pericope warns householders in the community to open now their residences for wandering prophets, thus fulfilling the teaching of Jesus.
This article attempts to demonstrate that the synoptic narratives of the Passion contain a stratum composed in Judea on the eve of the Great Revolt. This proposition may provide a common solution to several controversial issues such as the identity of those who arrest Jesus, the latter's trial before the Sanhedrin and Barabbas’ liberation. There is reason to think that the author(s) of this narrative layer sought to enhance the high priests’ guilt in Jesus’ death, at a time when the members of the high-priesthood were hated by their Jewish brethren on account of their exactions.
In this essay I take issue with Paul Trebilco's recent argument in this journal that the Christian self-designation of ἐϰϰλησία has a background in the Septuagint. I argue that its Graeco-Roman political meaning in the sense of ‘civic assembly’ was decisive in its adoption by Paul, and that Paul wished to portray his communities as alternative organizations existing alongside the civic assemblies. At the same time, however, I am critical of Richard Horsley's anti-imperialist understanding of the Pauline communities. Paul's contrast between two types of ἐϰϰλησία is an expression of his view on two types of πολίτευμα, a distinction which finds its background in the Stoic doctrine of dual citizenship. Through a sustained analysis of ἐϰϰλησία in the Hellenistic and Roman periods I show that, in many respects, the functioning of the Christian ἐϰϰλησία mirrors the operations of the civic assemblies.
The consensus interpretation of 1 Corinthians 3.12–15 assumes that the building materials of 3.12 and the ‘work’ of 3.13–15 refer to the activity of the builders, usually understood as their preaching, teaching, or evangelism. This interpretation, however, leads to severe theological problems in 3.15. An alternative reading, suggested by Adolf Schlatter but largely ignored since, views the building materials and ‘work’ as human persons. This article bolsters Schlatter's reading with contextual, linguistic, theological, and patristic support. Four potential objections to this reading are then met.
In the discussion of ‘identity’ in Paul's writings, the question whether the apostle holds to a view of salvation history is a controversial matter. The most important aspects of ‘identity’ play a part, however, in Galatians: namely the individual, the social, the mental and the habitual. In 1.6–2.14 the letter discusses a transformation in the life of the author; in 2.15–21 this is the case for Jewish (Christian) persons and in 3.1–6.17 for non-Jewish (Christian) ones. To be sure, the law is thereby relativized (see the enthymeme in 2.14b). The circumcision commandment should not to be forced upon non-Jewish (Christian) persons (see 5.2–6), because salvation is not mediated by ργα νόμου. After joining Christ (cf. 2.20; 3.18, 25; 4.7: οὐκτι), according to Paul, one has to take heed of the danger of a relapse, thus falling behind this event (cf. 2.18; 4.9b; 5.1: restitutive πάλιν). Furthermore, the apostle expects, astonishingly enough, a habitus of the addressees conforming to the law (see 5.14, 23b; 6.2). And the ‘Israel of God’ (compare especially Ps 127.6; 4QMMT C31–32; PapMur 42.7) even receives a peace greeting in 6.16. This view probably stands contrary to many exegetical expectations (due to the [purely] non-Jewish identities of Christians through many centuries).