|previous article in this issue||next article in this issue|
Document Details :
Title: The Departing Paul
Subtitle: Some Reflections on the Meaning of Spendomai and its Early Christian Reception
Author(s): ZAMFIR, Korinna
Journal: Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses
Volume: 93 Issue: 1 Date: 2017
This paper explores the early Christian reception of σπένδομαι as a metaphor for dying in Phil 2,17 and 2 Tim 4,6. Virtually all early Christian interpreters apply the passages to the death of Paul, and to death in general. Second- and third-century authors evoke Paul’s martyr’s death to persuade believers to embrace martyrdom. The passages are also proof-texts for various anthropological arguments (the universality of death, or death as liberation from the dominion of corruption). During the fourth century, these texts begin to be used as moral exhortations, the theme of sacrificial offering appearing frequently throughout this discourse. Homilies on martyrdom most commonly encourage Christians to live virtuous lives, reject sin, and put up with various adversities, which range from poverty and daily hardship to the loss of a beloved person or the approach of death. Homilies commonly address the appropriate attitude towards death, from avoiding excessive expressions of mourning to accepting dying as a transition to a better life.