Paul and the Image of God
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Paperback / softback
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
Number of Pages: 264
Width: 15.1 cm
Height: 22.5 cm
In this book, Chris Kugler situates Paul’s imago Dei theology within the complex and contested context of second-temple Judaism and early Christianity in the Greco-Roman world. He argues that Paul adapted the Jewish wisdom and Middle Platonic traditions regarding divine intermediaries so as to present the preexistent Jesus as the cosmogonical image of God (according to which Adam himself was made) and toward which the whole of humanity was destined. In this way, Paul includes Jesus within the most exclusive theological category of second-temple Jewish monotheism: cosmogonical activity. Paul’s imago Dei christology, therefore, is a clear instance of “christological monotheism.” Moreover, Kugler demonstrates that this interpretation of Paul’s imago Dei theology allows for a fresh reading of some of the most contested texts in Paul’s letters: 2 Corinthians 3–4; Romans 7–8; and Colossians 1.15–20; 3.10. He demonstrates that at the rhetorical level, Paul presents himself and his sympathizers as true philosophers who attain to the (Middle Platonic) telos of true philosophy: the image of God; while he presents his opponents as advocates of an empty and deceitful philosophy.
Chris Kugler has mastered Paul's writings, particularly the dense and difficult passages about Jesus... This ought to make the present study a vital resource for the new generation of Pauline scholars, as we leave behind some of the sterile antitheses of the past and navigate our way, like Paul himself, through a world in which there is now 'neither Jew nor Greek. -- N. T. Wright, Oxford University What Chris Kugler does here is to focus on a natural NT category: the image of God as emerging from Wisdom in the Jewish tradition through Middle Platonism. It is this confluence of ideas that gives rise to Paul's own form of Christological monotheism. Kugler's approach is thoroughly organic, exegetically nuanced, and historically reasonable. Add this to your shelf of significant books about Jesus. -- Scot McKnight, Northern Seminary Chris Kugler has written an enterprising thesis, and one which asks important questions about Paul's 'image of God' language. One of his key contributions shows how a fully divine Christology, in Paul, is fully consistent with, indeed expressed by, Paul's 'image' language. Indeed, anyone interested in imago Dei traditions and Pauline Christology will benefit from studying Kugler's arguments. -- Chris Tilling, St. Mellitus College Kugler's book is a timely and provocative contribution to the perennial question of Paul's understanding of Christ in relation to Adam, adding his own to the chorus of voices who now think Paul engaged in a creative dialogue with Hellenistic philosophy. A must read for anyone who wants to understand Paul's and the earliest believers' Christologies. -- Crispin H. Fletcher-Louis, author of Jesus Monotheism, vol. 1: Christological Origins: The Emerging Consensus and Beyond