Sharers in Divine Nature : 2 Peter 1:4 in Its Hellenistic Context
Sammanfattning: This book offers a theological study of an expression unique in biblical literature concerning the purpose of life: “that you might become sharers in divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4). Following an analysis of the text-immanent features in 2 Peter 1:1—11, the study delineates comparable notions of “sharers in divine nature” in selected writings that were current in the first century and contrasts these with 2 Peter. The comparative material includes the writings of the Old Testament, Josephus, Philo, Plutarch, Stoicism, Pauline Christianity, and other New Testament letters. A constellation of ideas is identified in 2 Peter 1:1—11 that informs the meaning of “sharers in divine nature.” By faith a person gains knowledge of Christ, which grants to the Christ believer two distinct but inseparable divine attributes: the moral excellence of Christ, exhibited with progressive clarity by the Christian, and, attendant upon the first, the immortality of Christ, with an escape from the decay caused by desire. The parousia consummates the Christ believer’s share in both aspects of divine nature. This idea cluster—knowledge of the divine enabling acquisition of divine virtue ensued by divine incorruption—is found to pervade the Jewish and non-Jewish writings here considered. Similarities of structure are observed particularly in Philo and Plutarch. Structural resemblances are detected again in Paul along with the additional presence of several formal parallels. These observations allow the conclusions that 2 Peter 1:4 alludes to a widely-held nexus of ideas, that Middle Platonic thought exerts some influence on 2 Peter 1:4, but that a more direct and tangible affinity exists with Paul.
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