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Durham e-Theses
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Breaking Down the Dividing Wall: Ephesians and the Integrity of the Corpus Paulinum

WRIGHT, MARTIN,SAMUEL (2018) Breaking Down the Dividing Wall: Ephesians and the Integrity of the Corpus Paulinum. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Author-imposed embargo until 25 March 2022.

Abstract

This thesis argues for the integrity of the Corpus Paulinum as a complex, composite text. It critiques the prevailing tendency to divide the Corpus in two, separating the undoubtedly authentic letters from those of disputed authorship. Instead, it advocates a renewed canonical hermeneutic in which the Corpus as a whole communicates Paul’s legacy, and the authorship of individual letters is less important. Ephesians serves as a focal text to illustrate the exegetical potential of this approach.

The thesis is in two parts. The first part is concerned with the history of the Corpus Paulinum, its ancient formation and its modern dissolution. Chapter 1 discusses the origins of the Corpus, reviewing the available evidence to learn about the earliest canonical reception of the Pauline letters. Chapter 2 addresses the interpretative division of the Corpus in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, ranging from the philological interrogation of authorship to theological and confessional polemics. This part concludes with a constructive proposal for reading the Corpus Paulinum as a continuous interpretative dialogue.

The second part comprises two exegetical studies based on this hermeneutic, interpreting Ephesians alongside other Pauline texts. Chapter 3 offers a reading of Eph. 2:8–22, while Chapter 4 considers the theme of the Body of Christ. The discussion is in constant conversation with other modern interpreters; it is argued that the widespread preoccupation with authorship has had a distorting effect on Pauline exegesis. The proposed integrative hermeneutic, by addressing this problem, offers new insight into familiar texts.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Paul, Pauline Corpus/Corpus Paulinum, Ephesians, canon, body, hermeneutics
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Theology and Religion, Department of
Thesis Date:2018
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:26 Mar 2019 10:45

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