Date of Award

1997

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Religion, New Testament PhD

First Advisor

Abraham Terian

Second Advisor

Robert M. Johnston

Third Advisor

Jacques B. Doukhan

Abstract

This dissertation reviews interpretations of the time of the Reign of Christ portrayed in 1 Cor 15:24-28 in light of early Christian Session Tradition. From an assessment of these views, it determines whether, and to what degree, utilizing contemporary tradition is warranted in order to comprehend Paul's assumed understanding regarding the temporal scope of Christ's rule.

The survey of interpretations shows that opinions are divided between two primary theses: a post-Parousia Reign of Christ and a pre-Parousia Reign of Christ. This scholarly impasse exists because there is a lack of explicit data regarding the beginning point of Christ's reign and because of the ambiguous nature of several words that are perennially debated within the larger pericope of 1 Cor 15:20-28.

Efforts to resolve this problem by appealing to the concept of the Jewish, temporary Messianic Kingdom tradition are examined and rejected for a number of reasons. More appropriately, it is seen that early Christian tradition forms the milieu of this passage. Accordingly, session texts, passages that make explicit reference to Christ's session at the right hand of God, his ascent, or his presence in heaven, form the basis of the tradition present in 1 Cor 15:20-28. From an analysis of select session passages in the NT and Pol. Phil. 1-2, it is shown that there exists in this type of text a fourfold theological pattern that is expressed by a specific vocabulary consisting of about twenty words. As 1 Cor 15:20-28 is compared with this tradition, it is demonstrated that this passage shares these same characteristics.

As 1 Cor 15:20-28 is interpreted in light of the session tradition, this dissertation concludes that Paul contemplates Christ's rule as a pre-Parousia scenario that continues, nevertheless, for a very brief period beyond his return. Even though this text comprehends future events in the Reign of Christ, its underlying tradition requires that one assume its present, cosmic reality. Consequently the time of the Reign of Christ belongs to both the present and the future. Inbrief, Christ rules from his ascension until the Parousia-Telos complex of events that constitutes one summary drama.

Subject Area

Bible. Corinthians, 1st, 15:20-28 --Criticism, interpretation, etc

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