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Gifts and Ritual - The Charismata of Romans 12: 6-8 in the Context of Roman Religion

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  • 2023

  • Engelsk

Paul’s teaching about divine benefactions in Rom 12:6–8 extends the theme of worship that he establishes in Rom 12:1–2. Together, these passages address a uniquely gentile dilemma that his audience faced as new Christ-followers, which was the challenge of finding acceptable replacements for former cultic activities that were woven through all of life’s stages, from birth to death. One of the chief shortcomings of the scholars that have written about Rom 12:6–8 is a failure to address what his gentile audience might have brought to his teaching and how his alignment of gifts with ritual (Rom 12:1–2) mirrored their polytheistic background. By analyzing examples from ancient texts and artifacts, Teresa Lee McCaskill shows that all seven of the terms Paul uses in Rom 12:6–8 would have had recognizable cultic antecedents for first-century worshipers in Rome. McCaskill presents a theoretical model that discusses how Paul’s gentile audience might have viewed the charismata and considered them as examples of sanctioned practices to replace former rituals. She also weighs how these gifts could have served to further Paul’s missional objectives.

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