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Christ and spirit: a study of Paul’s understanding of the relationship between Christ and spirit in the light of old testament and intertestamental developments

Becht, Dieter (1988) Christ and spirit: a study of Paul’s understanding of the relationship between Christ and spirit in the light of old testament and intertestamental developments. Masters thesis, Durham University.



In a first section this paper traces the development of Wisdom and Spirit as two interrelated concepts in Job 28, Prov 1-9, Ben Sira, Wis and Sim. A second section looks at 2Cor 3(_1)-4(_6). Paul does not understand the cause for Moses veiling his face to be an effort on Moses' part to hide the fading of his glory. Rather, he sees the veil as a means for Moses to protect the Israelites from too great an exposure to God’s glory. His aim is to contrast the former inability to stand the glory of God with the Christian’s freedom. This freedom is due to the fact that Christ is experienced as the Spirit and not as letters written on stone. It was further discovered that Paul draws both on his experience at Damascus as also on traditions found in Philo, Pseudo-Philo and Pseudo-Jonathan. His affinity to Pseudo-Philo is particularly striking. It is evident that Pseudo-Philo has an Adam typology based on the contrast between the first Adam and Moses, the new Adam, which is akin to traditions found in Philo and Pseudo-Jonathan. This disproves the old theories about Paul drawing on an 'Urmensch-Erloser Mythos' from another angle (as does the section on Sir 24) and places Paul's thinking in this matter squarely into the Jewish traditions of his time. In a final section, it is first postulated that Paul can identify Christ both with Wisdom (1Cor 1 and 2) and with the Spirit (2Cor 3(_17)) because he is working with a concept similar to that found in Sim. 'For Paul, the Messiah is identified with Wisdom as well as with the Spirit. The two are just two sides of the same coin: the Messiah is identified with the Spirit, because he is experienced by the believer as the Spirit. He is also identified with Wisdom, because the Spirit is the Spirit of Wisdom. Thus for Paul the question of a figure of Wisdom finally becomes meaningless, as Wisdom is linked with Jesus Christ, and in the same manner that Wisdom is linked with the Son of Man in the Book of the Similitudes, namely as the Spirit of Wisdom which is poured onto the Son of Man and through him onto the elect' (p. 133). Secondly, Paul has enriched this concept through his use of the Adam typology found in Palestinian traditions of his time, giving it new meaning by substituting Christ for Moses as the new Adam.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Theology
Thesis Date:1988
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:08 Feb 2013 13:37

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