Paul’s Apocalyptic Interpretation Of Reality: A Case Study Analysis Of Ephesians 1:15-23 -- By: Dan Lioy

Journal: Conspectus
Volume: CONSPECTUS 19:1 (Mar 2015)
Article: Paul’s Apocalyptic Interpretation Of Reality: A Case Study Analysis Of Ephesians 1:15-23
Author: Dan Lioy


Paul’s Apocalyptic Interpretation Of Reality: A Case Study Analysis Of Ephesians 1:15-23

Dan Lioy1

Abstract

This journal article builds on the work of an earlier essay (Lioy 2014a) to undertake a case study analysis of one representative passage in Paul’s writings, through the prism of its apocalyptic backdrop. The major claim is that the apostle’s eschatological worldview exercised a controlling influence on his writings, both directly and indirectly. The corresponding goal is to validate the preceding assertion by exploring the apostle’s end-time interpretation of reality in Ephesians 1:15-23.

1. Introduction

In an earlier essay (Lioy 2014a), I maintained that new creation theology was a defining characteristic in Paul’s letters, and 2 Corinthians 5:11-6:2 was analysed as a representative passage to demonstrate this assertion. One could also examine the apostle’s writings through the comparable prism of its apocalyptic backdrop. According to the Oxford English Dictionary (Pearsall 2014), the adjective ‘apocalyptic’ is derived from the Greek noun apokalypsis, which is usually translated ‘revelation’, ‘disclosure’, or ‘unveiling’ (cf.

1 Cor 1:7; Gal 1:12; Rev 1:1). Pitre (2013:23-4) identifies three interrelated categories of thought associated with the preceding terms: (1) a ‘genre of literature in existence’ from around 250 BC to AD 250; (2) a ‘social and religious worldview’ prevalent during this general period; and (3) a preoccupation with the ‘catalysmic end of the cosmos’.

Concerning the apocalyptic genre, Collins (1992b:283) defines it as ‘revelatory literature’ that has a ‘narrative framework’ and in which a ‘revelation is mediated by an otherworldly being to a human recipient’. Collins additionally elucidates that ‘over several hundred years’, the preceding literary category neither ‘remained static’ nor was ‘consistently uniform’. De Boer (2002:22) clarifies that the eschatological horizon ‘encompasses’ both the ‘present age’ and the ‘one to come’. Aune, Geddert, and Evans (2000:46) advance the discussion by explaining that an apocalyptic interpretation of reality focuses on the Creator’s ‘imminent intervention into human history’. God does so in a ‘decisive manner’ to rescue the righteous remnant and ‘pun...

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