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Durham e-Theses
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Prayer in the New Testament: a study of the occasions and vocabulary of prayer in the New Testament

Cooper, M A. (1978) Prayer in the New Testament: a study of the occasions and vocabulary of prayer in the New Testament. Masters thesis, Durham University.



This thesis represents an attempt to discover what prayer actually is, by exploring New Testament teaching about prayer. However, if that were a straightforward matter, the questions with which the present work grapples would be non-existent! There is in the New Testament no deliberate exposition of the meaning and practice of prayer. A line of approach into the New Testament has, therefore, to be determined. This is found by considering the Christian Gospel, with its understanding that God is our Father. Following this line, it is suggested that Mark and Romans together provide a central "pivot", as regards the form of the New Testament; the essence of the Gospel is highlighted by reference to Philo's treatise De Vita Contemplativa, a work, and a writer, serving also to enable freedom in exploration and assessment in the investigation into the theological foundation of "spirituality". But the fatherhood of God is not a new idea, so some space is allowed for consideration of the Old Testament understanding of Father. Having found a way in to the New Testament, no straight line of investigation presents itself; subjects, words, categories are inter-related, and what emerges could be said to resemble the formation of a rose, with its petals, varied in shape, size, and colour, clustered into the whole. First comes a look into Christianity's inherited vocabulary of worship; this leads on to the "prayer of asking" - an idea embedded in our word "prayer". After fairly lengthy exploration into intercession, then fellowship, prayer "for its own sake" is examined. The second part of the New Testament exploration looks at Jesus himself. The conclusion reached is that, as Mark and Paul provide the centre-point of Gospel exposition, John provides a central point of reference in "spirituality".

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1978
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Mar 2014 16:23

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