A Comparative Analysis Of The Song Of Moses And Paul’s Speech To The Athenians -- By: Dan Lioy

Journal: Conspectus
Volume: CONSPECTUS 16:1 (Sep 2013)
Article: A Comparative Analysis Of The Song Of Moses And Paul’s Speech To The Athenians
Author: Dan Lioy

A Comparative Analysis Of The Song Of Moses And Paul’s Speech To The Athenians

Dan Lioy1


This essay undertakes a comparative analysis of the Song of Moses and Paul’s speech to the Athenians. One incentive for doing so is the opportunity to address the issue of whether Paul overly diluted his proclamation of the gospel to accommodate the proclivities of his pagan (gentile) audience. A second motivation for considering the relationship between these two portions of scripture is that this topic has received only a cursory consideration in the secondary academic literature. This study concludes that at a literary, conceptual, and linguistic level, Paul connected his message to the Athenians with the theological perspective of the Song of Moses (and more broadly with that of the Tanakh). Another determination is that the apostle did not weaken his declaration of the good news to oblige the tendencies of his listeners. Rather, Paul examined the most exemplary archetypes of secular philosophical thought in his day, compared their dogmas to the truths of scripture, and declared how God’s Word is infinitely superior.

1. Introduction

The word Deuteronomy means ‘repetition of the law’, and this book is called such because it recites the Law of Moses a second time. Covering the period from about a month before to a month after Moses’ death (c. 1406 BC), Deuteronomy contains Moses’ reminders to the Israelites about their covenant with the Lord. It also records Moses’ transferring leadership responsibilities to his protégé, Joshua. In this book, the Israelite leader recorded a series of speeches to the Israelites about how they were to conduct themselves when they entered the Promised Land. In an effort to prepare them for the challenge of the future, Moses urged them to recall the laws and experiences of their past. He emphasized those laws that were especially needed for the people to make a successful entrance into Canaan.

Just as Deuteronomy is the literary bridge between the Pentateuch and the historical books of the Old Testament, so too Acts spans the gap between the gospel accounts and the letters of instruction that compose much of the New Testament. Moreover, in Acts, the narrative picks up where the gospels leave off, telling about the early days of the Christian church. Acts reveals that after Jesus ascended to heaven, the church experienced phenomenal growth. Jesus did not leave his followers unprepared for the task at hand; instead, he gave them the gift of the Holy Spirit, who filled them with supernatural power. Jesus’ followers became a channel for the flow of God’s ...

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