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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