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Volume 72:l January2008 Table of Contents Christian Identity in Pagan Thessalonica: The Imitation of Paul's Cruciform Life Charles A. Gieschen..................................................................... 3 The Narrative of Scripture and Justification by Faith: A Fresh Response to N. T. Wright Mark A. Seifrid........................................................................... 19 The Mystical Sense of Scripture according to Johann Jacob Rambach Benjamin T. G. Mayes................................................................ 45 Pro Deo et Patrin: Themes of the Cruciform Life in Dietrich Bonhoeffer Eric R. Andrae ........................................................................... 71 Book Review ........................................................................................ 96 An Old Journal under a New Cover This issue, sporting a new cover designed by Colleen Bartzsch, gives us reasons to celebrate. First, after being two years behind in our publication schedule, CTQ is now current. Our readers have been pleasantly surprised by the receipt of 15 issues since December 2006, a few of which were two issues printed under one cover in order to save postage. Some of you have even suggested that our journal should now be named Concordia Tlteological Monthly! Although David Scaer previously mentioned the key persons who helped in this catch-up process (see CTQ 70 fluly/October 20061: 367), I again express our sincere appreciation for the dedicated work of Annette Gard (CTQ Administrative Assistant), Jason Braaten (CTQ Graduate Assistant in 2006-2007), and Peter Gregory (CTQ Graduate Assistant in 2007-2008). The exemplary quality and quantity of these issues, produced under a demanding schedule, is due to these three individuals. A second reason to celebrate is because this journal has been blessed for many years by the editorial leadershp and writing of David P. Scaer. As we begin our seventy-second year of publication, it is worthy to note that it has been almost four decades since Scaer first became Editor of this journal (see The Springfielder 33, no. 3 [December 19691: 1).Over 30 years ago, he introduced both a new name (The SpringFelder became Concordia Theological Qziarterly) and a new cozler (see his editorial in CTQ 41 [January 19771: 1-2). The respect that CTQ enjoys among its readers as one of the most important journals in Lutheran theology is due, in large part, to Scaer's work. He has been a consistent advocate for letting this journal be "the theological voice" of our seminary to the wider church, an untiring editor in cultivating the right mix of writings for publication, and a prolific author of countless incisive articles that have appeared in these pages over the past four decades. We are thankful that he continues to serve as Editor. We hope you enjoy the small changes in this issue and those that will follow. Do not, however, expect an issue each month: we are back to four issues a year, one every three months! Most of all, we pray that you will continue to be blessed and nurtured by the theology-especially the faithful witness to Jesus Christ -presented in this journal. Charles A. Gieschen Associate Editor CTQ 72 (2008):3-1 8 Christian Identity in Pagan Thessalonica: The Imitation of Paul's Cruciform Life Charles A. Gieschen What does a Christian look like in a pagan world? How does a Christian maintain his identity as one who is in Christ and believes in the one true Triune Cod while living in an increasingly pluralistic world where many gods are worshipped?' Today we can point to centuries of church history for scores of examples of Christians who maintained their distinctive identity in a pagan world. What about, however, the earliest Christians? To whom would Paul point the earliest converts from Greco- Roman cultic life in order to help them understand what it is like to be a Christian? To whom would he point them in order to understand how a Christian faithfully maintains his or her identity in a polytheistic setting? In 1-2 Thessalonians, which are probably the earliest letters of Paul, the apostle points newly-converted Christians not to Old Testament examples like Joseph in pagan Egypt or Daniel in pagan Babylon but to himself as a living, breathing example of one who faithfully worships and serves Christ while surrounded by pagan deities and cultic activities issuing their siren calls. This may, at first sight, make twenty-first century interpreters uncomfortable, since it sounds like self-promotion rather than gospel proclamation. After all, is not our purpose to lift up Jesus Christ as savior and also as the example to be imitated? This study will demonstrate that a significant element of Paul's effort to shape Christian identity among these first congregations is found in his understanding of baptism as crucifixion with Christ and the presentation of his resulting cruciform life in Christ as a personal example to be imitated.2 For a brief discussion of the challenges of proclaiming Christ in a pluralistic world, see the statement of the Faculty of Concordia Theological Seminar)., "Religious Pluralism and Knowledge of the True God: Fraternal Reflection and Discussion," Corlcordin 77~ological Quarterly 66 (2002): 295-305. This study is part of my ongoing work on 1-2 Thessalonians for the Concordia Commentary series. For the "cruciform" language (but not all the theology with which Gorman uses this term), see Michael Gorman, Cruciformity: Patrl's Narrative Spirif~rnlity of the Cross (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2001). Charles A. Giesclrm is Professor of Exegetical Theology and CIrairrnarz of the Departnzent of Exegetical Theology at Concordia Tl~eological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana. Concordia Theological Quarterly 72 (2008) I. The Pagan Setting of Paul's Mission in Thessalonica Since modern readers of Paul are often not sensitive to how much the pagan cults dominated life in a first-century Greco-Roman polis (city) like Thessalonica, we will introduce this subject first.' In his seminal 1985 article on the cults of Thessalonica, Karl Donfried sumn~arizes the challenges posed by the specific religious and civic cults found in Thessalonica and how these may be reflected in specific content of Paul's epistles to these Chri~tians.~ Because the modern city of Thessaloniki is built over the ancient city, archaeological work on this city is limited. As those familiar with the layout of the polis know, temples in a high place to select gods were a fixture in the polis, along with an agora (marketplace), theatre, bathhouses, and a colonnaded cardo nlasinzlrs (main street). The limited archaeological, epigraphic, and numismatic (coinage) evidence that we have from Thessalonica points to the presence of a number of religious cults. There was reverence for several Roman gods: Zeus, Heracles, the Dioscuri, Apollo, and Aphrodite. The Egyptian gods Isis, Serapis, and Osiris were also worshipped; a temple to Serapis was discovered in 1917 after a fire in the ancient temple sector of the city. Elements of the cult of Dionysus were possibly being absorbed into the practice of these Egyptian mystery cults. Of special note was the presence of the cult of Cabirus, a cult whose god promoted fertility and protected sailors. These cults offered liturgical rites and a social calendar that ordered life in the yolis. The high-density paraenetic language about sexual cliastitv (1Thess 4:1-9), as well as Paul's later exhortations against works of darkness and drunkenness (1 Thess 5:5-8), should be interpreted against this pagan backdrop.; Paul also encountered civic cults in this city. The charge bv the civic authorities in Thessalonica against Paul, Jason, and others recorded in Acts 3 For the polis as the center of ethics, see Wayne A. Meeks, T/lr Morol World if tl~e First Clrritinw (Philadelphia: \Vestminster, 1986), 19-39. For the basic architectural plan of the polis, see John McRay, Arclraeology arrsl tlre Neil> Tet;tnilzrl~t (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1991),37-90. 4 Karl P. Donfried, "The Cults of Thessalonica and the Thessalonian Correspondence," Neil! Testnrtlet~t Studies 31 (1985): 336-356; see also Holland L. Hendrix, "Thessalonica," in 77le Anclror Bible Dictior~ary,ed. David Noel Freedman et al., 6 vols. (New York: Doubleday, 1992), 6:523-527. Tl~e information on religious and civic cults presented here is summarized from these two sources. 5 This point is repeatedly made by Donfried, "Cults of Thessalonica"; see also Piotr J. Malysz, "Paul's Use of the Imagery of Sleep and His Understanding of the Christian Life: A Study in the Thessalonian Correspondence," Corrcor~iia TI1~010gicnl Qrrnrterly 67 (2003): 65-78. Gieschen: Christian Identity in Pagan Thessalonica 5 17:7 indicates that Christians were supposedly acting against the "decrees of Caesar" (rBv 6oypd:wv Kaioupo<). It is quite probable that citizens had to take an oath of loyalty to Caesar such as this one noted by Donfried: I swear . . . that I will support Caesar Augustus, his children and descendents, throughout my life, in word, deed, and thought . . . that in whatsoever concerns them I will spare neither body nor soul nor life nor children . . . that whenever I see or hear of anything being said, planned, or done against them I will report it . . . and whomsoever they regard as enemies I will attack and pursue with arms and the sword by land and by sea.6 In addition to reverence offered to prior Roman benefactors who granted Thessalonica its "free city" status and to the goddess Roma, a temple of Caesar was built there during the reign of Augustus (27 BC-AD 14). The divine status of Augustus is visible not only from the presence of this temple but also from the fact that his head soon displaced that of Zeus on local coinage of this period. Although one can see evidence of this pagan setting in various places of Paul's two letters to this congregation, the most explicit evidence comes in the opening thanksgiving of 1Thessalonians 1:8-10: For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God has gone forth, with the result that we have no need to say anything. For they themselves report concerning what kind of a reception [~ioobov]we had with you, namely, how you turned to God from idols [r9v ei66iwv] in order to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath to come.' Paul's Jewish background shows through here; he labels all the numerous gods of this polis as "idols" -as non-living and false gods -in distinction to the single "living and true God" who is known in his risen and living Son. More could obviously be said, but the conclusion from this brief survey is clear: Paul sought to cultivate Christian identity in a thoroughly pagan setting. 6 Donfried, "Cults of Thessalonica," 343. All translations of the PaulineEpistles are mine. Concordia Theological Quarterly 72 (2008) 11. Christian Identity through Imitation of Paul's Example Paul introduces the theme of imitation early in the thanksgiving portion of 1 Thessalonians.~lthough the end of the thanksgiving was cited above, the opening verses of the thanksgiving, 1Thessalonians 1:2-7, are given here: We give thanks to God always concerning all of you, as we make mention of you in our prayers, your work of faith, your labor of love, and always remembering your steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father, because we know, brothers beloved by God, your election; for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of people we proved to be among you for your sake. You also became imitators of us and of the Lord [~aiCp.6~ k~pqrai$6~ iyevj0qr~ ~ai ~upiou],when you received the word in much tribulation TOU with the joy of the Holy Spirit, with the result that you became an example [r6nov] to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. The aorist verb iycvjeq~cshows that Paul is not exhorting the congregation to imitate him in the future, but is confessing that they hnae already become imitators (p~pqrai)of him and the Lord in how they received the gospel with joy amidst suffering. These Christians, in turn, became an example or pattern (r6~rov)for the rest of the church in Macedonia and Achaia. This text introduces two terms, p~pqrfi~and rdno~,that will resurface repeatedly in the Pauline Letters as an important theme. Abraham Malherbe points to the social background for Paul's emphasis on imitation (p~pia~c)in both of these letters as well as in 1 Corinthians and Philippians. Malherbe states: In attempting to discover how Paul shaped the Thessalonians into a community we must begin with his claim, "And you became imitators of us and of the Lord" (1Thess. 1:6). Paul usually calls his readers to imitation (1Cor. 4:16; 11:l; Phil. 3:16;cf. 2 Thess. 3:7,9). This description of the Thessalonian church's origin, however, is the only place where Paul refers to converts who had already modeled themselves after him. In short, Paul's method of shaping a community was to gather converts around himself and by his own behavior to demonstrate what he taught. In doing this, he followed a widely practiced method of his day, particularly by oral philosophers.9 "or this theme, see further Willis Peter de Boer, nre I~llitntion ofPn1~1: An Exegetical Study (Kampen:J. H. Kok, 1962). 9 Abraham J. Malherbe, Paul and the Thessnlon~ans:771e Pllilosoplric Tradition of Pastor[~lCare (Philadephia: Fortress Press, 1987),52. 7 Gieschen: Christian Identity in PaganThessalonica An example that Malherbe uses to illustrate this method among Roman stoic philosophers is from Seneca, a contemporary of Paul. Seneca asserts the importance of the personal example of the teacher-even above teaching -in the shaping of followers. Seneca wrote: Of course, however, the living voice and the intimacy of a common life will help you more than the written word. You must go to the scene of the action, first, because men put more faith in their eyes than in their ears, and second, because the way is long if one follows precepts, but short and helpful, if one follows patterns. Cleanthes could not have been the express image of Zeno, if he had merely heard his lectures; he shared in his life, saw into his hidden purposes, and watched him to see whether he lived according to his own rules. Plato, Aristotle, and the whole throng of sages who were destined to go each his different way, derived more benefit from the character than from the words of Socrates. It was not the classroom of Epicurus, but living together under the same roof, that made great men out of Metrodorus, Hermarchus, and Polyaenus. Therefore I summon you, not merely that you may derive benefit, but that you may confer benefit; for we can assist each other greatly.1" Seneca illustrates the understanding that a teacher's life lent a tangible example to his teaching, which, in turn, had a significant impact on shaping the identity of the student, certainly more than the teaching alone. This is not to say that Paul learned this imitation tradition from philosophers and employed it without modification. Malherbe also stresses Paul's recasting of this philosophic imitation tradition in two ways in 1Thessalonians." First, Paul does not point to his own personal words and accomplishments but focuses on the gospel proclamation and what that gospel has accomplished. Second, Paul uses the theme of the "harsh treatment" he received (bpp~oOivst