Paul and Power

The Structure of Authority in the Primitive Church as Reflected in the Pauline Epistles

By Bengt Holmberg

Paul and Power

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  • ISBN: 9781592448784
  • Pages: 240
  • Publication Date: 9/27/2004
  • Retail Price: $27.00
Web Price: $21.60
Web Price: $21.60

Paul and Power

The Structure of Authority in the Primitive Church as Reflected in the Pauline Epistles

By Bengt Holmberg

paperback-logo

PAPERBACK

  • ISBN: 9781592448784
  • Pages: 240
  • Publication Date: 9/27/2004
  • Retail Price: $27.00
Web Price: $21.60

About-

The study of the evolution of church structure and order has been subject to considerable research and debate, often with theological presuppositions determining the direction taken. In this highly original work, Bengt Holmberg separates historical groundwork from theological analysis by reviewing the issues from a sociological point of view. What emerges is an unusually lucid study of the network of "power relationships" which can be traced in the decades of St. Paul's ministry. The principal actors and situations in the Pauline Epistles suggest what the organizational and leadership realities of the times were like and how Paul, his co-workers, and his churches related to one another.

In Part One, Holmberg provides a historical description of the distribution of power at three levels in the primitive church: that between the church in Jerusalem and the apostle Paul; at the regional level where Paul operates in local churches personally, through co-workers and by letters; and at the local intrachurch level.

In Part Two, Holmberg develops a sociological analysis of the shape and location of authority in the church. He examines the New Testament literature for evidence and then interprets it in terms of categories derived from modern theoretical sociology, and in particular from Max Weber's sociology of authority. Holmberg describes the nature of authority in the early church and concludes that a charismatic authority was continuously reinstitutionalized through interaction of persons, institutions, and social forces within the church.

This persuasive and provocative study combines serious New Testament interpretation with sociological analysis of a crucial issue in earliest Christianity. It advances the case of sociological exegesis by offering a model for further investigations of the entire structure of church leadership and authority in emergent Christianity.

Contributors-

Bengt Holmberg

Bio(s)-

Bengt Holmberg is a retired professor of New Testament Exegesis at Lund University, Sweden. He is also a member of SNTS.

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