Browsing by Subject "early Christianity"

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  • Hietanen, Heikki (Helsingfors universitet, 2016)
    This thesis is a reading of the Book of Revelation where the text’s relationship to both the Roman Empire and empires in general is evaluated. As it becomes clear that the author views the Roman Empire of his time in negative terms, two categories are used in evaluating the nature of his critique. When he opposes the Roman empire with patterns and rhetoric that are similar to the pattern of empires, his views are classified as alter-empire. When empire is resisted with something profoundly different, the term anti-empire is applied. In order to make such a categorization possible, this thesis begins by establishing central terminology and ultimately the definition of empire as a concept. Here, the guidelines are provided by the central postcolonial theorists and those biblical scholars who have applied postcolonial approaches in their works. Empire is not defined as a monolith that is but more in the terms of what it does. This concept is then used in evaluating the Roman imperial discourse, the “official” way of understanding the world and human agency in it in the time when the Book of Revelation was written. The comparison reveals how the Roman imperial discourse fits the pattern of empire and provides context for the discourse presented in Revelation. This discourse emphasizes the binary opposition of adherence to God and accommodation to the Roman discourse. What is happening on earth is a mirror image of the celestial battle between God and his adversaries. Thus all forms of compromise with the surrounding normalcy are branded as idolatrous and condemnable. His audience is encouraged to “patiently endure” and “not to be deceived” into participation in Rome’s discourse. The seemingly unlimited power of Rome will soon be revealed as pretention, when God decides to end the time he has “allowed” for Rome and his other enemies before everyone will be judged and a new order established. This judgment reveals the author’s disregard for titles, family connections and earthly might. All human beings are called to personal adherence to God, and this witness is the only condition on which an individual’s fate is decided. John is also adamant in denying violence as an acceptable agency for human beings, even if it has a major role as God’s tool in the establishment of his kingdom. These are the major anti-empire-aspects in the Book of Revelation. For the most part, the work aligns itself more along the pattern of alter-empire. Victory over enemies establishes God’s hegemony. God’s superior might and violence grants him the right to rule. The presently marginalized “saints” will share this rule, and their opponents will be destroyed. This seemingly clear-cut binarism is ultimately undermined by ambivalence, when even the final chapters seem to contain hints of blurred boundaries. Such a failure in dualistic discourses is also a typical feature of an empire.
  • Kahlos, Ritva Tuulikki Maijastin (Routledge, 2019)
  • Kahlos, Ritva Tuulikki Maijastin (Gaudeamus, 2018)
  • Kahlos, Maijastina (2021)
    The religiosity of late antique and early medieval communities in the Mediterranean world has been vigorously examined and debated. This religious life has been called (among many other terms) ‘popular Christianity,’ ‘local Christianity,’ the ‘second church,’ ‘Religion zweiter Ordnung,’ and ‘the third paganism.’ In my article, I analyse late antique religious life from the viewpoint of encounters—between the ideals of the ecclesiastical elite and the people’s local cultic practices. These practices, embedded in the local communities, varied by regions but we can see similarities in the interaction of bishops with their local population. I will show how the ecclesiastical writers portrayed local cultic practices in negative terms as another religion (‘paganism,’ ‘idolatry,’ ‘demonic/ diabolic practices’), divergent from their own (‘Christianity’), or even as a distortion beyond ‘proper’ religion (‘magic’, ‘superstition’, ‘sacrilege’). In my analysis, I discuss and test various approaches that scholars have developed to understand the tensions between the bishops and the local people: David Frankfurter (local religion), Rubina Raja and Jörg Rüpke (local lived religion), and Nicola Denzey Lewis (magic as lived religion), Lisa Kaaren Bailey (lay religion) and Lucy Grig (popular culture). My focus is on the western Mediterranean world from the fourth to sixth centuries, and the cases of polemical encounters I analyse come from the writings of North Italian, Gallic and Hispanic bishops (Paulinus of Nola, Maximus of Turin, Philaster of Brescia, Caesarius of Arles, and Martin of Braga). I also compare the North Italian, Gallic and Hispanic situations with those in North Africa depicted by Augustine of Hippo.
  • Kahlos, Ritva Tuulikki Maijastin (Routledge - Taylor & Francis Group, 2018)
    Routledge Studies in the Early Christian World
  • Lindgren, Lasse (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    This study focuses on the exegesis of Gregory of Nyssa, a 4th century exegete, a Church Father, and one of the three Cappadocian Fathers. The main primary source of my thesis is Gregory’s treatise The Life of Moses, an intriguing example of Patristic exegesis based on the Exodus narrative. The main purpose of Gregory’s treatise is not to make a historical presentation of the journey of Moses and the Israelites, but to elevate the reader into a higher state of consciousness in order to perceive the spiritual meaning of the narrative. The kind of exegesis that Gregory applies is often defined as allegorical interpretation or allegorical exegesis, rich on symbols and enigmas, which was at first neglected in scholarly discussion. Fortunately, there has been a growing interest in Biblical interpretation of the Church Fathers since the mid-20th century. The main objective of my thesis is to focus on Gregory’s interpretations of topographical imagery presented in the Exodus narrative. Gregory gives symbolical interpretations to topographical locations: the city, the river, the sea, the desert and the mountain. My intention is to show that Gregory was not thinking of the various symbolical interpretations as independent units but he was seeking for a logical coherent sequence. One of the main objectives of modern research has been the reassessment of Gregory’s sources. In order to understand Gregory’s exegetical and philosophical concepts and terminology, one must be aware of the rich and profound tradition already established in classical antiquity. Gregory makes moral, ascetical, philosophical and mystical interpretations in relation to each topographical detail. These figurative interpretations are by no means based on his original ideas but are rooted in the rich tradition of Greek classical culture, as well as in the exegetical tradition of his Jewish and Christian predecessors. My purpose is to provide a systematic analysis of each term Gregory is applying and present an overall model of Gregory’s exegetical method. The final aim of my thesis is to present an analysis of Gregory’s pattern of topographical symbols as a whole. Gregory connects the topographical details with his threefold pattern of illumination, purification and participation in a fascinating way. For Gregory, the exodus narrative is a journey of a soul being liberated from the bondage of passions, temptations and materialism towards an ever-increasing awareness of God’s presence.
  • Kujanpää, Katja (2020)
    Drawing on recent insights into textual authority, this article examines how the authoritativeness of the Jewish scriptures is manifested in 1 Clement. The article argues that the relationship between the letter and the writings it uses in its argumentation should be seen as a two-way process of mutual authorisation. Moreover, the article illuminates the interrelatedness of textual authority, scriptural argumentation and the legitimation of leadership and power. Thus, the analysis both contributes to ongoing scholarly discussions of scriptural authority and highlights the role of scriptural argumentation in the identity-building of early Christians.