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Cosmology and Self in the Apostle PaulThe Material Spirit$
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Troels Engberg-Pedersen

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199558568

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199558568.001.0001

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Divine and Human Agency and Freedom

Divine and Human Agency and Freedom

(p.106) 4 Divine and Human Agency and Freedom
Cosmology and Self in the Apostle Paul

Troels Engberg‐Pedersen

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on a specific issue that lies at the heart of the relationship between human beings and the ‘powers’ of the world: the extent to which human beings are subject to the governance of those powers or — quite the opposite — free in relation to them. The chapter employs philosophical input in the form of the reflection on human freedom to be found in Paul's near-contemporary, the Stoic philosopher Epictetus, to show that in human beings, who precisely have the capacity for cognition, the superficially hard and fast contrast between subjection and freedom breaks down. This point, it is claimed, also fits Paul's own handling of the issue, which has close formal similarities with the understanding to be found in Epictetus. The two thinkers differ, however, in their understanding of the freedom of God.

Keywords:   freedom, cognition, Epictetus, God

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