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Paul and the Stoic Theory of οἰκείωσις

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A Response to Troels Engberg-Pedersen

image of Novum Testamentum

Three points serve as the backbone of Engberg-Pedersen’s interpretation of the social kind of oikeiōsis in Stoicism: (1) rejection of the role of the cosmic nature as a normative premise in oikeiōsis; (2) exclusive stress on the self-reflexive dimension in oikeiōsis; (3) taking the change in one’s view of oneself and other people to be the heart of oikeiōsis. However, none of these is convincing when examined closely. We have also seen that Engberg-Pedersen’s treatment of Paul is insufficient both in its methodological refinement and in exegesis. Engberg-Pedersen’s comparison is dyadic and imbalanced. Moreover, it fails to grasp the complexities and intricacies of Paul’s view of the Jewish customs, the Law, scriptural traditions, and other culturally conditioned social norms.

Affiliations: 1: Divinity School, The University of ChicagoChicago,


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