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Paul And The Gymnasiarchs: Two Approaches To Pastoral Formation In Antiquity

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores how the educational ideals of eastern Mediterranean gymnasia, as articulated in the honorific inscriptions, were expressed in the civic leadership and ethical behavior of the gymnasiarchoi. It demonstrates that Pauls cruciform gospel sought to transform the leaders of his house churches in order that they might act as ambassadors of divine reconciliation within the body of Christ and also within the network of client-patron relationships constituting Graeco-Roman society. The chapter argues that Paul would still have been exposed to gymnasiarchal culture even if, as was the likelihood, he did not have the ephebic education of other first-century Jews. Paul may have heard their honorific decrees heralded in prominent public places, or have listened to the popular philosophers preaching in the open air the maxims of the Delphic canon, the ethical curriculum of the gymnasia spanning Greece to Afghanistan.

Keywords: body of Christ; Delphic Canon; Graeco-Roman society; Greece; gymnasia; Jews; Paul



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