πάροικος καὶ παρεπίδημος: Proselyte Characterizations in 1 Peter? -- By: Torrey Seland
BBR 11:2 (2001) p. 239
πάροικος καὶ παρεπίδημος:
Proselyte Characterizations in 1 Peter?
Volda University College
In some diaspora Jewish works, the terms πάροικος and παρεπίδμος belong to the semantic field of “proselyte/proselytism.” In 1 Peter, however, they do not indicate that the recipients of the letter are considered former proselytes. The terms function rather as metaphors drawn from the social world of proselytes (source domain), characterizing the social situation of the Petrine Christians (target domain), especially throwing light on the social estrangement of the Christian converts in the Greco-Roman societies of Asia Minor as understood by the author.
Key Words: diaspora, proselytism, 1 Peter, Philo
In three recent studies of 1 Peter, the three authors have suggested three different controlling metaphors as important for the writer of 1 Peter and hence crucial for our understanding of this letter. Troy W. Martin suggests “diaspora” as the controlling metaphor;1 Reinhard Feldmeier suggests “der Fremde”;2 while Paul J. Achtemeier3 in his recent commentary suggests “Israel.” In spite of the fact that they all also find other metaphors important as submetaphors in the letter, none of them has paid much attention to the role of proselytes/proselytism as a major aspect of the letter. “Proselyte/proselytism” is a subcategory that goes well together with both “diaspora” and “Israel,” and I will here argue that the issue of “proselyte/proselytism” plays a much greater role in the letter than has hitherto been observed.
BBR 11:2 (2001) p. 240
In his impressive commentary, Achtemeier says that understanding “Israel” as being the controlling metaphor for the Christian community in 1 Peter clarifies several points that have been problematic in understanding the letter. It clarifies the fact that, despite its OT related terminology, the letter was not written to Jewish-Christian readers; second, it makes possible the proper understanding of the characterization πάροικος καὶ παρεπίδημος; third, it clarifies the self-understanding of the Christians as a “new people of God.” Fourth, it answers the question why historical Israel is never mentioned in the letter.4
I will take as my point of departure his second point, the use of such categories as
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