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The Colossian and Ephesian «Haustafeln» in Theological Context

An Analysis of Their Origins, Relationship, and Message

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James P. Hering

In this groundbreaking study, James P. Hering investigates the theological and ethical motivation that informs the controversial New Testament household codes ( Haustafeln) found in the epistles to the Colossians (3:18-4:1) and Ephesians (5:22-6:9). Within most New Testament scholarship, the household code has been regarded as an imported element within its host letter, reflecting either pagan or embarrassingly sub-Christian values. Is the household code merely a nod to the pragmatic demands of culture, or can it be understood as a reflection of the author’s theological concerns? What can it teach us today? Hering provides a unique analysis of these passages, revealing the Haustafeln in their historical context and examining their theological roots. This book is of vital importance for courses on Christian ethics and New Testament backgrounds.

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Contents

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Introduction...............................................................................................1 Chapter One: Survey and Assessment of Scholarship .....................9 Introduction ......................................................................................9 Form-Critical HT Analysis.............................................................11 Research of HT Origins: Early Theories .......................................14 Catechism Theories: The HT as Christian Lehrstück ...............................................................................14 Dibelius-Weidinger: Adoption of the Hellenistic Ethic ........17 Ernst Lohmeyer: Jewish Source Theory................................20 K.H. Rengstorf: The HT and the Social Context oi)=koj.........22 David Schroeder: The Debate Concerning HT Form ............26 James Crouch: From HT Form to Sociological Concerns.....32 Economic Theories and the HT Form ...........................................38 David Balch: Attention to Broad Literary Context................38 Klaus Thraede: Economic Theory in Colossians, Ephesians and 1 Peter .............................................................................41 Dieter Lührmann: An Integrated Sociological Approach......44 Beyond Economic Theory..............................................................48 Franz Laub: A Radically Sociological Approach..................48 Klaus Berger: Gnomic Tradition and HT Origins .................52 Hermann von Lips: The HT as Christian Parenetic Topos....55 Conclusion......................................................................................58 Chapter Two: The Colossian Haustafel in Theological Context ............61 Introduction....................................................................................61 The Christ of Colossians: Universal Dominion .............................63 Christ’s Dominion in the Believer: The Divine- Human Axis..........................................................................65 Implications of the Divine-Human Axis ..............................69 Colossians 3:4–4:6: Life in Light of the Coming Lord ........74 The Colossian Haustafel: Observations .........................................76 The Theme of Lordship and the HT .....................................76 The Aural-Communal Aspect of the HT Commands ...........79 Addressing the Subordinate Member ...................................81 Reciprocity and Responsibility.............................................84 Analysis of the Expanded Instruction: Slave and Master ..............85 The Slave in Christ’s Service: Analysis of Col. 3:22–24 .....90 viii Justice before Christ: The Transition....................................98 Earthly Masters and The Lord in Heaven...........................101 Conclusion ...................................................................................103 Chapter Three: The Relationship of Colossians and Ephesians............107 Introduction..................................................................................107 The Current Discussion of...

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