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Der Zweite essalonicherbrief und Gottes Widersacher

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image of Horizons in Biblical Theology

Second Tessalonians 2:1-12 is about a rebellion and an "outlaw", who appears in front of and opposes against God. Many problems of the sketch can be solved against the background of the time when the text is written, the 60s of the 1st century (the first part of the essay establishes that date):

At that time the early Christians are becoming stigmatized in many ways. The author of 2 ess suspects the outbreak of a crisis and invigorates the community to resist. For that purpose he uses apocalyptic-dualistic motifs (part 2).

In addition, the author profits from the collective memory of Caligula's intention to set up a statue of Zeus, imagining at the same time the emperor. The trouble caused by Caligula engraved deep traces in ch. 2; one may compare important moments of the description of God's opponent to Philo, leg. At the same time, the author strengthens the Christology; therefore, the opponent fails in his demonstration to be God (part 3).

Der 2 Thess enthält die beispiellose Skizze eines grundlegenden Widersachers Gottes. Wenn wir den Brief vor dem theologischen und zeitgeschichtlichen Hintergrund der 60er Jahre des 1. Jh. interpretieren, ergibt sich ein plausibles Bild: Als die Gemeinde von außen zunehmend stigmatisiert wird, versucht der Briefautor mittels apokalyptisch-dualistischer Denkfiguren die Gemeinde nach innen hin zu festigen. Das Ende des für die Gemeinde misslichen Zustandes verzögert sich auf rätselhafte Weise. Der Autor schildert den Widersacher Gottes unter Einfluss von (für ihn noch frischen) Erinnerungen an Caligula und steigert merklich die Christologie, indem er bekannte Gottesaussagen des 1 Thess auf Christus überträgt.

Affiliations: 1: Missionsstraße 1A, D-42285 Wuppertal


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