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Glossary of Paul Terms

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Adoptionism
Jesus was adopted by God as Messiah; originally human who became divine
Anitnomianism
opposition to moral laws; in early Xy, the belief that grace exempts you from moral codes
Apocalypse
literary genre from the oppressed, highly symbolic visions, images, and/or concepts depicting a social reversal
Apocrypha
15 books which were at some time considered Scripture in some second temple Jewish and early Christian circles, found in the Septuagint; the NT Apocrypha refers to an indeterminate number of early Christian writings
Apologetics
the effort to provide a reasoned defense and/or explanation of one’s convictions and/or conduct in response to criticism
Apostle
an authoritative envoy/messenger/representative of Jesus; different definitions by Paul and Peter
Apostolic council
meeting held in Jerusalem (ca. 50) at which the legitimacy and limitations of the Christian mission to the Gentiles were discussed and established (Acts)
Apostolic decree
the letter issued by the Apostolic Council, places certain dietary and moral restrictions upon Gentile Christians
Aramaic
a Semitic language that developed from Aramean; the lingua franca in the Near East approximately 600 BCE to 600 CE
Ascension
departure of Jesus into the heavens 40 days after the Resurrection in Luke 24 and Acts 1
Beatitudes
the state of happiness/blessedness; the pronouncement of such
Canon
collection of writings which are officially recognized as authoritative
Catholic epistles
for several brief letters in the NT which are generally regarded as initially meant for the entire Christian community; do not really know to whom these letters were meant, so call them "catholic (general)" usually include Hebrews, James, 1 & 2 Peter, 1, 2, & 3 John and/or Jude
diaspora
Jewish communities outside Palestine
doublet
the presence in a single gospel of two versions of the same saying or narrative; suggests the use of two different sources by a single evangelist
Early Catholicism
Christian writing of the late
first/early second centuries characterized by institutionalization of the Church, development of ecclesiastical offices and authoritative traditions; response to the demise of imminent eschatology


eschatology
theological reflection upon the consummation of human history and related ideas such as death, resurrection, final judgment and establishing the kingdom of God

Essenes
a Jewish sectarian movement (ca. 150 BCE to 70 AD) which gave rise to a separatist community/communities that practiced rigorous obedience to Torah, a monastic lifestyle and apocalyptic expectations
eucharist
"thanksgiving" - derived from the prayer of thanksgiving in the consecration of the sacramental elements of bread and wine
formula quotations
quotes from HB found in Matthew to represent Jesus as the fulfillment of Hebrew prophecy; introduced by a stereotyped formula to make the point explicit

Four-Source Hypothesis
Q, Mark, M, L
Gnosticism
characterized by the belief that the true self is of heavenly origins but is entrapped in the material, evil world; escape to the heavenly realm is possible only through the acquisition of secret, redemptive knowledge revealed only to a few
Hellenistic
the manifestation of Greek language and culture outside Greece; often a veneer over a native culture
Hellenistic Age
when the eastern Mediterranean world was dominated Greek kingdoms and culture permeated every aspect of society; from the conquests of Alexander the Greek (d. 323 BCE) to the reign of Augustus (Octavian) Caesar (31 BCE).
hermeneutics
the theory and practice of the interpretation of texts
incarnation
the embodiment of the divine nature voluntarily in a human body for the purposes of revelation and salvation
Second Temple Judaism/ Intertestamental
450 BCE to 100 CE, a period when Judaism developed as the surviving form of ancient Israelite religion and manifest itself in a variety of parties and movements
Kerygma
Greek word meaning “proclamation” or “preaching” that came to mean strictly the proclamation of the messiahship of Jesus
Koine
Greek word meaning “common” which referred to the form of Greek spoken throughout the Greco-Roman world by non-Greeks
Logia
Greek term meaning “sayings” (logion, singular); refers to Jesus’ pointed, brief sayings, in contrast to his parables
Messiah
Hebrew for “anointed one”; originally a human agent set apart for a special task by ritualistic anointing; could refer to outstanding humans or archangels in second temple Judaism; in early Christianity, one sent to redeem humanity back to God
Midrash
Hebrew (“seek,” “inquire”); a type of biblical interpretation common in Palestinian rabbinical schools that dealt with narratives (haggadah) or legal/ethical traditions (halakah).
Mystery religions
type of religion popular during the Roman period which offered personal salvation through secret rites and participation in the cult of the patron/patroness deity
Oral torah
large body of Pharasaic-rabbinic legal traditions which were regarded as equal to the written Torah
Parable
an example or story drawn from everyday life which compares the familiar world and the unfamiliar transcendent world in order to create understanding and give new meaning to lif
Paraclete
an alternate means of referring to God’s divine agent in the Gospel of John and 1 John; could refer to either the Holy Spirit or to Jesus
Parousia
referred to the visit of a high official; in early Christianity referred to the second coming of Christ
Passion narrative
the portion of the Gospel narratives which recount the events leading to the arrest, trial and crucifixion of Jesus; perhaps the oldest sequential narrative in gospels
Pentecost
Greek term for the Jewish Feast of Weeks, a harvest festival celebrated in June on the fiftieth day after Passover; in Acts 2, the day the Holy Spirit descended
am haeretz, people of the land
expression during the second temple period for the common masses in Palestine, mostly rural and poor, who were regarded as religiously lax by the Pharisees
Pericope
a self-contained unit about Jesus which circulated independently before the writing of the gospel narratives
Pesher
Hebrew term for an eschatological view of Scripture that saw Scripture referring to the last days; characteristic of exegesis at Qumran
Philo
wealthy, well-educated Alexandrian Jew who wrote philosophical essays explaining and defending Judaism to non-Jews; a Middle Platonist
Post-exilic
the time after the Babylonian exile and before the building of the second temple in Jerusalem
Proselyte
a convert; Gentile who converted to Judaism
Pseudopigrapha
Greek for “false writing”; a group of late Jewish writings which claim to be written by notable figures of Israelite history but were not; many were apocalypses
Pseudonymity
writing under an assumed name either (1) to gain the authority of the alleged author, (2) to speak on his behalf, (3) to attribute a writing to a recognized authority figure
rabbi
a Jewish religious authority trained to teach, interpret and apply the Law of Moses
Samaritans
descendents of the 10 lost tribes of ancient Israel and various Gentile ethnicities; kept the law of Moses and had their own temple. Normally looked down on because of their non-Jewish heritage and religious practices
Scribes
professional class of men in the ancient Near East who were experts in their particular cultural traditions; in Judaism, experts on the Torah and its application
Septuagint
Greek translation of Hebrew sacred writings that became the preferred Greek rendering during the second temple period; Ptolomey II
synagogue
literally “assembly” or “gathering place” for Jewish persons; probably originated during the Babylonian exile as a way to compensate for the absence of the Temple
syncretism
mutual influence among different traditions resulting in the borrowing of ideas/practices by one from another; an important feature Greco-Roman religious and philosophical discourse
Termins ad quem
(Latin: “the point in time to which”), a technical term for the latest possible date for something
terminus a quo
(Latin: “the point in time from which”), a technical term for the earliest possible date for something
Torah
the Hebrew designation for the five books of Moses and the body of religious teachings, cultic and moral prescriptions contained in them
Two Gospel hypothesis
argument that Matthew was the first gospel, Luke used Matthew and employed a special collection (“L”) and that Mark used the two gospels of Matthew and Luke; also known as Matthean priority and the Griesbach hypothesis
Two source hypothesis
the argument that Matthew and Luke both independently used the two sources of Mark and “Q” (a collection of Jesus-sayings) in composing their respective gospels.
typology
an ancient method of interpretation that saw corresponding patterns between one person/object/event in Israelite history and a later person/object/event in early Christianity; suggests continuity between Judaism and Christianity
Vaticinium ex eventu
(Latin: “prophecy after the fact”), a statement presented as prophecy which has actually been spoken/written after the event has actually occurred; sometimes merely “ex eventu prophecy.”
Vulgate
Latin translation of the Bible made in the 4th century CE/AD by St. Jerome (340-420); became the standard text of western Christianity
Zealots/ Sicarii
Jewish sects during the late second temple period; deemed terrorists by the Romans, freedom fighters by many Jews; instrumental in initiating the Jewish revolt against Rome from 66-70

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