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exegesis and demonstrate what is needed in order to do a proper exegesis of a passage of scripture. In doing so name at least three different methods of scriptural criticism and explain how they assist in the exegetical task.
In a strictly definitional sense, according to the American Heritage Dictionary, to conduct an "exegesis" merely means to embark upon a critical explanation or analysis of a text. (American Heritage Dictionary, exegesis, 2000) However, this neutral term contains, within its innocent sounding syllables, contains a long history of contentiousness, regarding scriptural interpretation. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, "exegesis" within the context of scriptural criticism is the branch of theology that investigates and expresses the true sense of Sacred Scripture. (Catholic Encyclopedia, "exegesis," 2001) The true sense is not merely understood, even by the devout, as a unified study, however.
To conduct an appropriate exegesis one must first understand the literal meaning of the passage, understand its place in the overall canon of scripture, and also historically why it was included in the Bible. Thus, exegesis can approach scripture in a literal or hermeneutic sense, that is to understand what the actual words of scripture meant when they were first written in their historical, literary, and canonical context. It can also approach scripture in a historical or formal sense. One can interpret the different interpretations that have applied to a particular passage in line of the overall composition of the Bible, in an attempt to understand how particular stories and the authors, assemblers, and readers of the text would likely have interpreted images in the past. Lastly, the Bible can be understood in a literary sense or in theological terms, how the Bible can function as guide for life for today. For instance, one can interpret Genesis' meaning of Adam and Eve, understanding the literal meaning of the tale and what the words used would have meant to an ancient Israelite, one could then interpret what the pairing of this second creation story meant with the previous, more general creation story before it, and finally understand what the story says about obedience and disobedience of humanity today. (Langenbrunner, How to Understand the Bible)
Explain Jesus' understanding of the Kingdom of God and how it related to his preaching and what was the basic message proclaimed. How does the Christian church today relate to the Kingdom of God? Explain their similarities and differences.
Whatever controversies exist concerning Jesus, one thing is clear, according to Michael D. Guinan, namely that the early followers of Jesus saw in Jesus, the fulfillment of God's promise to David. Guinan understands Jesus' role upon earth as realizing the genealogical promise most clearly delineated in the first book of Matthew, that Jesus is the fulfillment of David's line and promise, a man who brought God's kingdom of peace, justice and love to earth. (Guinan, Christian Spirituality)
In such an understanding, Jesus used the symbolic trope of the Kingdom of God to communicate his understanding of the divine intervention upon earth in his person. The physical presence of God on earth thus brings about judgment and redemption in symbolic rather than in purely literal terms. However, other authors and interpreters of Jesus' message in its likely historical context have suggested that Jesus believed the kingdom of God to be immanent upon the earth in a much more concrete sense, given the political situation of Israel at the time.
Today, many millennial Christian movements, usually of a Protestant nature have used the concept to justify a millennial, or end of the world interpretation of the present. Today, the Catholic Church is more apt to view Jesus' view of the Kingdom of God being realized upon earth as a responsibility of all Christians to realize in terms of their actions towards others, and as a guide for their own conduct, rather than something that is likely to be literally witnessed in their lifetime.
Delineate a proper theology of the resurrection of the body in relationship to Jesus' death and resurrection and how that relates to the contemporary church and its mission today.
Unlike historical critics of the Bible who have seen the resurrection of Jesus as a common narrative construction of the ancient world regarding heroic figures, Christians of the past and today have stressed the unique nature of resurrection in relation to Jesus' death. The physical as opposed to the purely spiritual resurrection of Jesus reaffirms for Christians that although the body is transient and fleshy, the soul is eternal. Yet because Jesus was resurrected in body as well as soul, this also reaffirms the intrinsic goodness of God's physical creation of the world, despite man's tendency to fall into sin and disobedience.
Jesus' resurrection also affirms he was not merely a great teacher, but the physical action on earth that 'made all the difference' has significance beyond all other actions before or sense. In Sachs' work, where he discusses the nature of the Christian individual in the larger community, he notes, citing 1 Corinthians 12:12, that "apart from the body, a member is only a dead organ. The God of the Law and the Prophets, the God of Jesus ... whose creating and redeeming action transforms this world into God's Kingdom and calls all men and women to the freedom and divine fullness of life in this Kingdom" is mainly understood through understanding Jesus' physical act of resurrection as well as his spiritual, "visible and invisible as the Creed says," that "has its unity and goodness in the unity and goodness of God who is its origin and final fulfillment. (Sachs 41)
However, despite the stress upon the resurrection as a physical as well as a spiritual act, the Catholic Church still frequently uses resurrection as a metaphor for understanding the Church's mission. Humanity can never be fully fallen, as the potential and possibility for resurrection is constant just as God's interest in his good, physical act of creation is abiding and constant. This does not deny the physicality of the resurrection, merely affirms that it has a spiritual and metaphorical component, in addition to its physical truth.
Explain how a theology of God emerged in the early church primarily as a Christological reflection. Similarly explain how Christological reflection in the early church generates a "doctrine" of God.
In the early Church, the Christological aspect of Jesus began to take predominance or at least, infuse all of Jesus' teachings. In other words, rather than seeing Jesus as one in line of a long line of prophets, Jesus' life as well as his ministry began to come to prominence. To understand the importance of martyrdom and sacrifice, rather than simply to understand the significance of Jesus as one of Israel's great rabbis was a way for gentiles as well as Jews "to be one with God. The good news about the Kingdom is addressed to human beings in the totality of their lives," rather than to stress only the cerebral aspect of it. "Why is it worthwhile to emphasize the unity" of Old and New testaments, of past and present, Christian doctrine still stresses that Jesus is the figure that both unites past and present, yet transformed past and present into something different. (Sachs 56)
Now the covenant with humanity was not particular, but general. Jesus was a unique event in human history, in the Church's view, but one could still emulate his example and take up one's own cross, in striving to serve humanity. The teachings of the church continued His legacy in a positive and coherent fashion.
Explain the difference between the Jesus of History and the Jesus of faith. Explain how a theology of the resurrection relates to these concepts.
The historical Jesus lived and died, and his physical existence is recorded in contemporary historians of the gospel narrators. The interpretation of Jesus, and the significance of his death was left up to his followers, after his death, like Paul who stressed that the willing martyrdom of death made all the difference, and, in his letter to the Galatian community of Christians, rather than simply the content of Jesus' teachings.
Alfred Mc Bride suggests that, along with Paul's conversion, the resurrection was one of the major events that served to foster a dynamic faith in Jesus even today. Jesus in history as an actor was necessary and required, because the resurrection was a physical action, an event chronicled in history. The Jesus of Faith is eternal, although His actions in history are and were necessary for the nature of the faith to be fully revealed to humanity.
Both Jesus figures of history and faith are thus one and the same and remind us, writes McBride, "that Jesus abides with the Church through his Spirit, and that the Father's love for the Church never ceases." The reason two components of Christ, a Jesus of faith and a Jesus of history, may be spoken of, however, is that not every…[continue]
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This is the same in our lives, because if we remain steadfast in out faith, our suffering can only serve to further God's work in our lives. Paul's example also highlights our responsibilities to each other, because through our own example we can help other Christians that might be facing the same kind of difficulty as us. In the next few passages, Paul goes on to discuss something that has
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