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The agon motif and the military image in paul

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Chapter Summary

In the diatribe, Philo, IV Maccabees, and, to a lesser degree, Josephus, they almost appear interchangeable, despite the difference in emphasis which each image bears. A similar relationship appears to present itself in the Corpus Paulinum, one which necessitates a brief examination of this relationship in so far as it helps to throw added light on the role of the Agon motif in Paul. That which Sevenster says in characterising the use of the military image in Seneca also applies to the entire diatribe. Harnack correctly notes that Paul does not speak of Christians generally as 'soldiers', but rather reserves the term for himself and his coworkers. The internal conflict of the believer against sin (Rom 6:12-14) is part of the great cosmic struggle against Satan and the powers of darkness (Eph 6:12).

Keywords: Agon motif; Christians; IV Maccabees; military image; Paul; Philo; Seneca



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