An Analysis of Their Origins, Relationship, and Message
Chapter Two: The Colossian Haustafel in Theological Context 61
Chapter Two The Colossian Haustafel in Theological Context Introduction In the preceding chapter we found that the New Testament HT has not been conclusively assigned to traditional material, be it Hellenistic, Jewish or early Christian. HT scholarship has been principally devoted to ascertaining potential Vorlagen, a largely form-critical question, or, alternatively, con- cerned with social and religious aspects such as the occasion and function of the HT in the early church setting. The former approach has determined some similarities in a number of ancient texts; the similarities, however, can- not altogether account for the HT form. The HT contains unique characteris- tics which define it in contrast to the various proposed literary evidences, and tie it, we hope to demonstrate, to the theology of the letter. Presupposing a genetic literary link has not succeeded in demonstrating a clear traditional genre from which the HT has emerged, but has had the unfortunate effect of isolating it from the theological context of the larger letter, making the HT little more than an isolated (and sub-Christian) parenetic stratum within the letter. This, isolation, we believe, hinders the full understanding of this ad- mittedly controversial parenesis, and thereby its potential theological rele- vance. The sociological investigations of the HT in terms of its occasion and function, though varied in their conclusions, approach the HT as an expres- sion of pragmatic expediency. Here the theological impulses contained in the larger text, as well as those found in the form of the HT, have been largely...
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