Paulus und die Mystik. Der eine und einzige Gott und die Transformation des Menschen - 10.1628/004435413X666341 - Mohr Siebeck
Theology

Gerd Theissen

Paulus und die Mystik. Der eine und einzige Gott und die Transformation des Menschen

Volume 110 () / Issue 3, pp. 263-290 (28)

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The question of whether Paul is a mystic can be answered by comparing his texts with three mystical experiences: purification ,illumination, and unio mystica. The article discusses analogies to these experiences in Pauline texts. All such mystical texts are part of Paul's epistolary strategy to influence his congregations. For example, Paul develops a social mysticism in order to integrate all groups within these congregations. In so doing, he is dependent on mystical traditions: Wisdom had already developed a mystical imagery that was elaborated on by Philo and Paul in different ways. The crucial question concerns the position of this mysticism in Paul's theology. Alongside metaphors of mystical transformation, we also find metaphors of a personal relationship between God and human beings that imply a deep distance. Nonetheless, mystical thoughts are at the centre of Pauline theology. Jesus was a radical monotheist. His monotheism makes God the ultimate concern of human beings. In Paul's theology, human beings become the ultimate concern of God. They must be transformed in order to live up to God's will. This transformation is expressed by mystical imagery. Therefore it is wrong to assert a contradiction between kerygmatic and mystical theology. The basic structure of faith in kerygmatic theology and of mystical experience is similar.
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Gerd Theissen No current data available.