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Durham e-Theses
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Dynamic oneness: The significance and flexibility of Paul’s one-God language

Suzanne Beth Nicholson, (2007) Dynamic oneness: The significance and flexibility of Paul’s one-God language. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



This thesis explores the strongest one-God statements in Paul's undisputed writings, namely 1 Cor. 8:6, Gal. 3:20, and Rom. 3:30. The three texts in question have very different contexts and address different issues. Each chapter begins with a discussion of various scholarly approaches and then proceeds to analyse each verse within its historical, cultural, and grammatical contexts. Finally, each chapter ends with an investigation into the relationship between Christ and God in the rest of the letter to determine whether the strong one-God language affects Paul’s theology elsewhere. The introduction (chapter 1) investigates issues connected with monotheistic beliefs in first-century Judaism. Chapter 2 argues that Paul's ethical exhortation flows from his understanding of the oneness of God. The vertical dimension of loving the one God is necessarily expressed in the horizontal dimension of loving one another. Furthermore, Paul exalts Christ to the level of divinity, despite the hierarchical language which occasionally appears in the letter. Chapter 3 explores the identity of the mediator in Gal. 3:20 and concludes that Paul contrasts the mediator Moses with the mediator of the new covenant, Christ. Part of the reason the new covenant is superior is that Christ shares in the deity of God, whereas Moses does not. Chapter 4 argues that the character of the one God serves as the foundation of Paul's soteriology. Because the one God is impartial and justifies all people by the same standard, he is the God of both Jews and Gentiles. Paul’s language demonstrates that God's actions and Christ's actions define one another so that to speak of one is to speak of the other. In Chapter 5, the study concludes by emphasizing that Paul's understanding of the one-God is not static or perfunctory; rather, it is dynamic and flexible, influencing significant aspects of Paul’s Gospel message.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:2007
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:08 Sep 2011 18:34

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