Fredriksen-kneeling gods and others


At the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

Thus, Philippians 2:10.

Paula Fredriksen in Paul, the Pagan’s Apostle asks about the ontological status of these “knees”. Knees in heaven”? Knees under the earth? Obviously some of these “knees” do not belong to earth-dwelling humans.

This odd language points us to Paul’s world-view, which I referred to the other day as not exactly monotheism. Paul and other New Testament writers lived in a world where certain spiritual entities, whether gods or spirits, were acknowledged as real. They were not part of some paranormal realm. They were recognized in perfectly normal public and family life. They were part of the reality that Paul and his assemblies dealt with all the time.

According to Fredriksen, Paul believed in the God of Israel as the high god. He required his pagan congregants to turn…

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About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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