The meaning of the Pauline pi/stij Xristou= is the subject of much discussion. Is the genitive here objective: "faith of Christ" or subjective: "the pi/stij of Christ"? In the latter interpretation the problem is the meaning of pi/stij. "The faith of Christ" comes up against the fact that the act of believing is never ascribed by Paul to Christ, nor is it ascribed to him elsewhere in the New Testament. The "faithfulness of Christ" avoids this objection but is a weak alternative. The fact that pi/stij also has the meaning of "credibility" or "trustworthiness", is sometimes overlooked. This is the meaning which suits some texts because the "trustworthiness" of Christ is what makes the Christians "faith" possible.
The final chapters of Amos are read synchronically to highlight the relationship between the divine voice, which demands that its hearers prophesy (Amos 3,8), the voice of Amos, and those of other characters. Amos intercessions soon give way to entrapping word-plays and these are related to the rhetorical traps in Amos 12. Divine and prophetic speech defy the wish of human authority that they be silent. The figure of Amos eventually disappears from the readers view, but not before the prophet has been used as a focal point for the readers projections of themselves into the literary world of the text. As the scenes change from ultimate destruction to restoration, the readers appropriate the prophetic voice themselves, especially in the final verse which ends with a declaration of security uttered by your God.
The four successive versions of the story of the raising from the dead in 2 Kgs 4,8-37; 1 Kgs 17,17-24; Acts 9,36-42 and Acts 20,7-12 are very differently constructed narratives, tailored to diverse aims. The Elisha version organises the material as a man of God's struggle to be believed and draws from it a subtle lesson on the relationship between God and man, which shows itself in the figure of the professional mediator. The Elijah version on the contrary emphasises the sovereignty of the wonder worker and so demonstrates the superiority of Elijah over his successor. The Peter version assimilates the wonder worker to the example of Jesus and severs the connection between service and reward. In the Paul version, the raising from the dead exemplifies the saving event of the Eucharistic celebration. These diverse formulations show striking connections between narrative and theological complexity.
While the adoption of a child in the ancient Near East and Egypt was generally customary, this legal institution is completely absent from the Old Testament nomistic literature. Only in a few narrative texts do we find slight allusions to adoption. Of these texts only Est 2,7.15 suggests the adoption of an orphan by its first cousin. That Israel did not take over this common ancient Near Eastern practice can be explained by its theological self understanding according to which YHWH alone was the guarantor of progeny. That YHWH alone gave life and punished the evildoer with sterility and childlessness was a universally valid principle of Israel's faith found in all theological currents. In the eyes of the exilic and postexilic theologians in particular it would have been a blasphemy to circumvent YHWH's command by a law of adoption. For this reason Israel rejected adoption as a means for securing its continued existence.
Many factors contribute to a re-examination of the story of the adulterous woman (John 7,538,11). This essay responds to these factors by its defense of the suggestion that the woman is a re-married divorcee, at fault not with the Mosaic Law, but with the teaching of Jesus on divorce.
The phrase Cr)h yhl) lk t) hzr...hwhy in Zeph 2,11 has long been a source of confusion for commentators and various attempts have been made to explain the term hzr: does YHWH "shrink" the gods by reducing their domains, or can we understand this term as derived from an Aramaic root and translate, "YHWH...will rule..."? An alternative suggestion, long-discarded, takes a more literal line and understands YHWH to "famish" the gods through the withdrawal of burnt offerings made by their worshippers. While this reading is working along the right lines, this passage appears in fact to refer to the Babylonian ritual of providing cult images with formal meals-a practice which will end with the conversion of the nations.
Galatians 5,17 can be read in such wise that 17d is related directly, not to 17c, but to 17a; in this scheme 17b and 17c are a parenthesis. By this syntactical adjustment, what was often a puzzling reading, that the struggle between flesh and spirit leaves a Christian unable to do the good he desires, is resolved. The Pauline warning is not to let the flesh have its way (16), for the flesh strives (17a) so that what you do want to do, these things you do not do.