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Christ as example: The imitatio Christi motive in biblical and Christian ethics
Uppsala University, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Faculty of Theology, Department of Theology.
1998 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this study is (1) to investigate what the imitation of Christ means in Biblical andChristian ethics, (2) to make a critical analysis of some interpretations of the imitation of Christ inChristian tradition, (3) to propose an alternative interpretation of the imitation of Christ, and (4) todiscuss the role of the Bible in Christian ethics. This demands discussion of several problems.What does it mean to follow or imitate Jesus? How can Christians be like Jesus? How can the Biblebe used in Christian ethics? What Christology do the chosen theologians have? What ethical theoryis proper to the imitation of Christ?

In chapter 1 the author discusses the role of the Bible in Christian ethics. In chapter 2 he dealswith how two New Testament scholars interpret Pauline texts concerning the imitation of Christ.These two chapters help him to analyse how contemporary theologians relate Christian ethics to aBiblical one.

In the following chapters the author discusses six interpretations of the imitation of Christ inChristian tradition. They are a monastic, an ascetic, a political, a contextual, a feminist, and anarrative interpretation. The monastic interpretation recognizes the importance of a cloister as aplace for the imitation of Christ. The ascetic interpretation is concerned with the method andprocess for the imitation of Christ. The political interpretation emphasizes social responsibilitythrough work, family life, and political participation in the world. The contextual interpretationholds that a social and cultural context plays a great role in Christian discipleship. The feministinterpretation states that women's experience has a hermeneutical meaning for the imitation ofChrist. The narrative interpretation stresses the story of Jesus in Christian character formation.

The author presents an alternative relational interpretation of the imitation of Christ. He stressesthat human beings are in the web of various relationships with others and they thereby areresponsible for others. He recommends human beings to live with an agapeic attitude toward oneanother for a better human society.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis , 1998. , 231 p.
Uppsala Studies in Social Ethics, ISSN 0346-6507 ; 21
Keyword [en]
Religion, Jesus, Christ, Imitatio Christi, Bible, New Testament, Gospels, follow, imitate, example, model, ideal, Biblical ethics, Christian ethics, interpretation, monastic, ascetic, political, contextual, feminist, narrative, relational, love, Göran Bexell, Thomas Ogletree, J.I.H. McDonald, Edvin Larsson, H. Dieter Betz, Thomas à Kempis, Sören Kierkegaard, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Choan-Seng Song, Chung Hyun-Kyung, James McClendon, Stanley Hauerwas
Keyword [sv]
National Category
Religious Studies
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-162ISBN: 91-554-4182-3OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-162DiVA: diva2:161212
Public defence
1998-05-23, Room IX, University Building, Uppsala, Uppsala, 10:15
Available from: 1998-05-02 Created: 1998-05-02Bibliographically approved

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