ORALITY AND PAULINE ‘CHRISTOLOGY’: SOME HERMENEUTICAL IMPLICATIONS
AbstractThe main thesis of this essay is that Paul’s Christological expressions have been decisively influenced by the oral culture from which they stem. The argument is defined that an awareness of Paul’s orality enables the reader to understand the formal coherence between the symbolical, historical and psychological aspects of his Christology, thus providing the reader with an invaluable hermeneutical tool. The hermeneutical model which emerges can be described as follows: on a symbolic level the salvational deeds of Christ are contextualized within a concrete situation by means of language symbols. On a historical level the salvational deeds are placed within the framework of an escalating salvational history. On a psychological level a comprehensive solidarity is established between the proclaimed Christ, the speaker and the audience. For its theory of orality the paper is indebted mainly to Walter J Ong (Orality and Literacy’ 1982). The implications of this theory for Pauline Christology are explored on a sustained debate with JC Beker and D Patte.
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