The Relationship Between Powers Of Evil And Idols In 1 Corinthians 8:4-5 And 10:18-22 In The Context Of The Pauline Corpus And Early Judaism -- By: Rohintan Keki Mody
Journal: Tyndale Bulletin
Volume: TYNBUL 60:2 (NA 2009)
Article: The Relationship Between Powers Of Evil And Idols In 1 Corinthians 8:4-5 And 10:18-22 In The Context Of The Pauline Corpus And Early Judaism
Author: Rohintan Keki Mody
TynBull 60:2 (2009) p. 295
The Relationship Between Powers Of Evil And Idols In 1 Corinthians 8:4-5 And 10:18-22 In The Context Of The Pauline Corpus And Early Judaism1
This thesis about the relationship between powers of evil and idols in 1 Corinthians 8:4-5 and 10:18-22 proposes a ‘co-optative view’ that in these passages evil powers are personal supernatural evil beings. For Paul, idols are the spiritually unreal cult images of the pagan gods and, in some cases, are also the gods as conceived by pagans, who are merely imaginary and fictitious (i.e. Zeus, Sarapis, etc. do not exist).
The relationship between daimonia and idols has three inter-locking aspects. First, the daimonia are powerful and enslave humanity through their inner sinful inclination into idolatry. By doing the will of the daimonia, idolaters serve them. Secondly, the daimonia deceive humanity into sacrifices to idols. The daimonia inspire idolatry, and possibly change their forms into the pagan gods. Thirdly, the daimonia ‘stand behind’ the idols and co-opt the sacrifices consciously intended for the idols, and so idolaters come under the sphere of power/ influence of the daimonia.
Paul’s views about daimonia being personal supernatural evil beings, the spiritual lifelessness of idols, and the ‘co-optative’ nature of the relationship between daimonia and idol is continuous with certain views attested in early Judaism (as found in Deut. 32, 1 Enoch, Jubilees, and Revelation). Where Paul does redefine his Jewish heritage is in seeing the holy opponent of the daimonia and idols as being Christ ‘the Lord’ and in exhorting the Church to express exclusive loyalty to him.
TynBull 60:2 (2009) p. 296
The introduction presents three different scholarly views with reference to Paul’s view of evil powers and idols: the ‘identification’ view (where evil powers and idols are identified with one another); the ‘distinct entities in association’ view (evil powers and idols are distinct entities in an arm’s length relationship with one another); and the ‘undefined relationship’ view (where the nature of the relationship between evil powers and idols is not delineated). It proposes the key question to be answered: How does Paul see the relationship between powers of evil and idols? It then puts forward a method: focusing on passages from early Jewish texts that relate to powers of evil and idols before examining You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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