Date of Award
Master's Essay - Restricted
Master of Arts (MA)
This thesis is an investigation of the teaching of the early Christian community on the authority of Christ. It sets out the scriptural description of this teaching, as it is found in Philippians 2:5-11 and the First and Fifth Chapters of the Epistle to the Ephesians and in the process attempts to discover the reasons for the positions taken therein. The examination of this question is itself a work of textural criticism. Such a criticism is attempted in order to learn what the authority of Christ meant in Pauline thought. "Authority" is a term which could be applied to the actions of persons in several spheres, in the family, in the political society, in the Church. The focus of this study is not on authority considered philosophically but on the personal authority of Christ proposed in three passages of the New Testament. Seen from one aspect, this research is a reply to the questions, "In what is Christ's authority rooted? What right has Christ to order any man?" Considered from another aspect, it is an answer to the question, "How does Christ exercise his authority?" The Pauline answers to these questions is what is being investigated. A study of this kind does not attempt to explore what the authority of Christ connoted to Christians who lived beyond the Apostolic Period. This is left to the historian. Numerous studies have commenced and are becoming available for this purpose. Nor does this study pretend to show the complete picture of Christ's authority as it is found in both the Old and the New Testaments. For purposed of precision three texts are examined. The object of the examination is the reflection of the early Christian community in Philippians 2:5-11 and the First and Fifth Chapters of the Epistle to the Ephesians that affected its teaching on the authority of Christ. This study, in focusing on two letters written in different years and ascribed to Pauline authorship, is concerned with the developing awareness on the part of the early Christian community concerning Christ's authority. Such a developing awareness might be expected in the Apostolic communities who yearly moved to a deeper understanding of their relation to the Risen Lord. This paper examines the hypothesis that the Christian community had a profound awareness of Paul's statement of Christ's authority and that awareness of Christ's authority can be found in Philippians and Ephesians. It proposes the early Christian belief that Christ obtained the full exercise of his authority through his death and resurrection which were the expressions of his love for the Church.
Foley, Henry A., "The Pauline Awareness of the Authority of Christ" (1967). Master's Essays (1922 - ). 705.