Transformation and growth : the Davidic temple builder in Ephesians
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The focus of this thesis is on the way in which the theology of the author of the Epistle to the Ephesians is both shaped by and shapes the appropriation of OT texts and themes, especially in Eph 2:11-22. This reveals an overarching theme, not only in 2:11-22, but in the whole letter, of the Davidic scion who builds his new temple consisting of Jews and Gentiles together. The creation and growth of this new humanity is expressed using temple imagery and by appropriating OT texts that are concerned with the eschatological pilgrimage of the Gentiles to Zion. Ephesians is concerned with the transformed walking that is inherent to membership of the Messiah’s people. It is further concerned that this corporate entity should function as God’s dwelling place on earth; unity and loving relationships therefore being the burden of Ephesians’ paraenesis. This entire process is summed up at the gateway to the letter’s paraenesis in the phrase “learn the Messiah.” The discipleship thus conceived is about much more than (but not less than) individual transformation. The temple/dwelling place theme imparts a corporate dimension to growth that is crucial if the Messiah’s people are to function as they ought. This functioning is given further definition, however, by the expansionist element introduced by the temple theme and texts, as well as the framing of membership of the Messiah’s people in explicitly covenantal terms. Ephesians may thus be seen as a letter whose purpose is to induct believers into the privileges and responsibilities of the Messiah’s new humanity, to give them the self understanding that they constitute corporately the new temple and to convince them that the manner of their “walking” is the means by which the unity and integrity of God’s dwelling place is both expressed and maintained.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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