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Persecution, Persuasion and Power: Readiness to Withstand Hardship as a Corroboration of Legitimacy in the New Testament
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Theology, Department of Theology, Old and New Testament Exegesis, New Testament Exegesis.
2010 (English)Book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This monograph examines an often overlooked aspect of New Testament constructions of legitimacy, namely the “value” of Christians’ withstanding persecution as a means of corroborating their religious identity as Christ’s followers.  The introductory chapter defines the problem in interaction with sociologist Pierre Bourdieu’s concept of “cultural capital.”  Chapters 2–10 examine the depictions of persecuted Christians in the Pauline letters, First Peter, Hebrews, Revelation, the NT Gospels, and Acts.  These exegetical analyses support the conclusion that assertions of standing, authority, and power claimed on the basis of persecution play a significant and heretofore under-appreciated role in much of the NT.  It is also argued that depictions of persecution can have both positive and negative implications for constructions of legitimation: they can work positively, confirming the standing of Jesus’ faithful followers, as well as negatively, calling into question the standing of those construed as persecutors of the early Jesus movement(s).  An epilogue considers later examples of early Christian martyrs and confessors, as well as John Foxe’s “Book of Martyrs.”  The epilogue also addresses the ethical and hermeneutical problem of asserting the withstanding of persecution as a basis of legitimacy in ancient and modern contexts.  This problem stems from the observation that, although the NT authors present their construals of withstanding persecution as a basis of legitimation as if they were self-evident, such assertions are actually the culmination of numerous presuppositions and are therefore open to dissenting viewpoints.  Yet the NT authors do not acknowledge the possibility of competing interpretations, or that oppressed Christians could someday become oppressors.  Accordingly, this exegetical study calls attention to ethical and hermeneutical quandary that the NT bequeaths to the modern interpreter, a quandary inviting input from ethicists and other theologians.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Tübingen, Tyskland: Mohr Siebeck , 2010, 1st. , xxii + 443 p.
, Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament, ISSN 0512-1604 ; 270
Keyword [en]
persecution, martyrdom, legitimation, new testament
National Category
Religious Studies
Research subject
New Testament Exegesis
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-140609ISBN: 978-3-16-150612-3OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-140609DiVA: diva2:384080
Available from: 2011-01-11 Created: 2011-01-07 Last updated: 2011-01-11Bibliographically approved

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