Thursday, February 26, 2009

Changing Tack

Since getting my proposal approved last year I have been reading and thinking about both my topic and the issues around it which I need to take into consideration. My original thesis proposal suggested that the meat of the issue was around Paul's sources, i.e. those ideas current in Paul's time which he could draw upon to construct the image of the church as Christ's body. However I have pretty quickly come to realise that this is barking (to some extent) up the wrong tree. While it is important to be aware of all the different ways the word for body could be used in the ancient world, i.e. the word's 'linguistic horizon' or 'chamber of resonance,' two other issues come before this and are more decisive: firstly the literary context of the metaphor and secondly the particular historical situation in which it was used. What this means is that rather than having to look for a single generalised explanation of Paul's meaning when he uses the phrase 'body of Christ' it is entirely possible that in each situation he uses it in a different way and with different connotations.

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