Divine Sonship Before Nicea
Biblical Scholarship on “Son of God”
Chapter 1 argues that scholarship on divine sonship in the New Testament has relied anachronistically on the philosophical and theological categories of fourth‐century Christianity, especially the key distinction, “begotten not made.” In the Roman world before Nicea, begetting and making sons was not primarily a philosophical distinction. On the contrary, the father‐son relationship was at the heart of all Roman social relationships—the crux of Roman kinship and politics. The argument critiques the Nicene approach to biblical texts, which is often an unconscious combination of fourth‐century Christological categories with first‐century texts. It further assesses what can be gained for the study of divine sonship from narrative, historical‐critical, and audience‐oriented methods. The approach of the book is characterized by a concern for social practices, an ear for political ideology, and a focus on the singular figure of the Roman emperor.
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