The Pauline Churches: A Socio-Historical Study of by Margaret Y. MacDonald

By Margaret Y. MacDonald

The writer reports the Pauline corpus with a view to hint the method of institutionalisation within the Pauline groups. She claims that improvement could be traced due to the fact we haven't in simple terms letters from Paul himself, but in addition the Pastoral epistles from the start of the second one century, in addition to Ephesians and Colossians, writings that are attribute of the ambiguous interval following the disappearance of the earliest experts. this is often the 1st large exam of the Pauline corpus from this attitude; it additionally contains successfully insights from the social sciences.

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Should one remain married to an adamant unbelieving spouse? 20 It is clear from Paul's writings that he is bound to give ideological justification for the existence of his communities vis-a-vis Judaism. This need for legitimation is probably less related to the everyday needs of community members than are the marriage and food questions discussed above. But, for a Jewish leader of a new movement that proclaimed the resurrection of the Messiah and included Gentiles on the basis of faith in Christ, the question of the group's position with respect to the law required attention.

When the reciprocity between social realities and religious symbolism is ignored, distortion is inevitable. Furthermore, with its keen interest to understand the uniqueness of early Christianity, the history of ideas approach has often tended to account for similarities between the early church and its contemporary environment by giving somewhat 'ethnocentric* explanations. One might well argue that this is simply a case of 'doing bad history'; it is true that many historians today working on the New Testament do account for social realities and do not produce such distortive results.

Can one infer from this statement that there were women who were well-to-do and in a position to render service to the community? In 1 Tim 5:5 real widows are described as those who are left alone. Is it legitimate to infer from this statement that there were women in the community of the Pastorals who were completely dependent on the church for financial support? Can these passages reveal anything about the social composition of the community of the Pastorals? Can they be harmonized with what is known more generally about the position of women in Greco-Roman society?

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