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If Sons, Then HeirsA Study of Kinship and Ethnicity in the Letters of Paul$
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Caroline Johnson Hodge

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195182163

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195182163.001.0001

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 Descendants of a Faithful Ancestor: Hoi Ek Pisteōs

 Descendants of a Faithful Ancestor: Hoi Ek Pisteōs

Chapter:
(p.79) 4 Descendants of a Faithful Ancestor: Hoi Ek Pisteōs
Source:
If Sons, Then Heirs
Author(s):

Caroline Johnson Hodge (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195182163.003.0005

This chapter demonstrates that Paul uses the phrases ek pisteos (literally “out of faithfulness”) and hoi ek pisteos (literally “those out of faithfulness”) to create a new discourse of kinship for gentiles in which they spring from the faithfulness of Abraham and Christ. This argument draws upon and contributes to the pistis Christou debate, supporting the subjective genitive (“faith of Christ”, instead of “faith in Christ”) translation of this controversial phrase. The chapter shows that such an interpretation is defensible on at least four grounds: the term ek regularly appears in discussions of kinship both inside and outside of Paul; the term pistis can also be read as relating to notions of ancestry and descent; Paul labels gentiles in terms of their status as brothers “ek pisteos” (Gal 3:7; Rom 4:16); and Paul claims that God justifies the one who is ek pisteōs Iesou (Romans 3:26). In using the phrases ek pisteos or hoi ek pisteos, Paul does not refer to an abstract frame of mind, but engages in an allusive word play by pairing the preposition ek, which in kinship contexts denotes source or origin, with an unlikely object: pistis. In this reading, pistis refers to the faithful characteristics and actions of Abraham and Christ, not to the personal commitments of believers.

Keywords:   faith, faithfulness, pistis, ek, subjective genitive, pistis Christou, faith of Christ, faith in Christ

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