Gerald A. Wooten gawooten at mindspring.com
Tue May 28 01:26:29 EDT 2002


Perhaps N.T. Wright's comments on Paul's use of prepositional phrases
with either CHRIST[O/W-] or 'IHSOUS as its object would be helpful.
This discussion appears in his third chapter: XRISTOS as 'Messiah' in
Paul: Philemon 6, in his monograph: The Climax of the Covenant [Fortress
Press: 1993].

First he presents the statistics where either CHRIST[O/W] or 'IHSOUS is
the object of various prepositions.  With regard to Paul's use of such
prepositional phrases he writes: 

"Thus, most notably, we see that when Paul says 'in' with a phrase
denoting Jesus Christ the Lord, the word which regularly follows is
either 'Christ' or 'Lord' and virtually never 'Jesus'.  When, however,
he says 'through', it is usually 'Jesus' or 'Lord', rather than
'Christ'. The exceptions to both generalizations actually prove the
rule, as we will see presently (pg 45)."   

He then uses these generalizations to support his point when he

"(A) The usage of CHRISTOS is incorporative...to connote, and sometimes
even to denote, the whole people of whom the Messiah is the
representative. (B) .... CHRISTOS still bears, for Paul, the titular
sense of 'Messiah', and that it is precisely on the basis of that
meaning that he is able to coin (.....) the various prepositional
formulae in which this incorporative idea is summed up. (C) ..... Though
both words denote the same human being, Paul uses 'IHSOUS to refer that
man as Jesus, the man from Nazareth, who died on the cross and rose
again as a human being, and through whose human work, Paul believed
Israel's God had achieved his long purposes; and he uses CHRISTOS to
refer to that same man, but this time precisely as Israel's Messiah IN
mine!].   ..........  Clearly, because it is endemic in the
understanding of kingship, that the king and the people are bound
together in such a way that what is true of one is true in principle of
the other (pg 46)

He then turns to several texts to demonstrate this idea on
'incorporation' and finally to Philemon 6 which is his topic at hand.

I am still working through his book, and cannot at this moment state
what his full thesis is, but this much I can state:

Paul's Damascus experience caused Paul to rethink his understanding of
Israel's/the Messiah's purpose/role in redemptive history.

Gerald A. Wooten

[Moderator's note: Please, let's keep discussion of this focused on
the Greek phrase EN CRISTWi and steer clear of broader matters of
theology and general Biblical interpretation. Thanks. cwc]

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