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Did the early church delimit its expectation of the Parousia?

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Chapter Summary

This chapter answers the question: Is there any evidence to determine that the early church as a whole expected the Parousia would certainly occur shortly and definitely within its own generation? Since a united voice cannot be pre-supposed within the Christian communities and the different elements within the New Testament, and because it is often argued that here particularly Paul reveals a development of understanding, the evidence is examined chronologically. Only two passages might possibly be taken as indicating a delimited exception in the chapter. The chapter is interpreted, on the one hand, as giving a re-appraisal of Paul's earlier 'world-denial' and, on the other hand, as evidence that Paul still believed that the Parousia would come within a very few years. Dodd thinks that Paul grounds civil government in 'the natural moral order of the universe, but lying outside the order of grace revealed in Christ'.

Keywords: Christian communities; New Testament; Parousia; Paul

10.1163/9789004265905_009
/content/books/b9789004265905s009
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