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Asceticism And Otherworlds In The Acts Of Paul And Thecla

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Chapter Summary

Although at a first glance the Acts of Paul and Thecla may seem nothing more than naive hagiography, written to provide edification and encouragement, the work actually promotes distinctive theological views. The premise of this essay is that both the discourse material and the narrative are meant to express a system of beliefs. The introductory words to Paul's speech in Iconium and the subsequent beatitudes summarise the doctrine conveyed by the narrative. First, the eschatological perspective involves the expectation of a future resurrection. Second, this expectation is intimately linked to asceticism as a precondition and pledge for future heavenly beatitude. Third, the life and aptitudes of the main characters anticipate the qualities of the glorified humanity that will be possessed in its fullness in the afterlife. The representation of the otherworlds in the APTh is rather uncomplicated in terms of spatial imagery.

Keywords: asceticism; otherworlds; Paul; spatial imagery; Thecla



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