Imitation in faith: Enacting Paul’s ambiguous pistis Christou formulations on a Greco-Roman stage

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    There is an ongoing debate in New Testament scholarship on the correct interpretation of Paul’s pistis Christou formulations: are we justified by our own faith/trust in Christ, or by participating in Christ’s faith and faithfulness towards God? This article contributes to the position of purposeful or sustained ambiguity by reading Paul’s imitation – and faith(fulness) – language against the background of Hellenistic-Roman thought on and practice of imitation. In particular, the mimetic chain between teachers and students training for a philosophical disposition, and the philosophical topos of ‘becoming like God’ (homoiōsis theōi) offer material valuable for comparison. Since pistis, fides and cognates are used in these settings as both a quality to imitate and as attitude towards a model, and since, conversely, imitation is very much involved in Paul’s pistis-vocabulary, it makes sense to read pistis Christou as shorthand for a mimetic movement of faith(fulness) via Christ towards God.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)119-153
    Number of pages35
    JournalInternational Journal of Philosophy and Theology
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 4-Nov-2016


    • pistis
    • faith
    • faithfulness
    • pistis Christou
    • Paul of Tarsus
    • moral imitation
    • Ancient philosophy
    • homoiosis theoi

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