City centres of the apostle Paul

Hardenberg, Benedict Ralph (2002)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2002

On title page: Master of Philosophy (Bible Skills)

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The apostle Paul was called and commissioned to the city centres of the eastern Mediterranean world. These city centres were places of power, trade, wealth and travel. They were the nerve centres of civilisation in the East. People from various parts of the Roman Empire were found in these major cities. The city was therefore a highly significant institution in the Roman Empire. The governing authorities wanted hellenization and romanization to spread from these cities. The Christian leaders also decided that Christianity had to spread in the Roman Empire from its city centres. The apostle Paul's Christian mission was therefore to the various cities in the Roman Empire. The sociohistorical realities in these cities therefore formed the context of Paul's life and apostolic work and determined his relation to a city. The political, social, cultural and religious factors in a city could therefore impinge on his life and work. The apostle Paul was usually drawn to these large cities where he could find Jewish communities. As Christianity was resting on a Jewish foundation, his initial strategy was his work in the synagogues amongst the Jews. Paul also needed an alternative venue for his Christian work in the city. These alternate venues were usually the private homes of individuals who had become Christians. In these homes Paul established his church in a city. The hosts in these homes would usually become the benefactors and leaders in the church. Paul's apostolic work in a city was also done in the city streets. His church therefore became thoroughly mixed in terms of social status, however, the church gave all equal rights and privileges. When Paul left a city, he also placed on them the responsibility to reach their surrounding regions and provinces with the Christian message. These cities therefore had to be strategically located. The apostle Paul chose five specific cities that had an advantageous geographical position in the Roman provinces to complete his apostolic work in the eastern Mediterranean world.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die apostel Paulus was geroep en opgedrag vir die stedelike sentrums van die ooste Middellandse wereld. Hierdie stedelike sentrums was plekke van invloedryke mag, ekonomiese handel, rykdom en reis aktiwitiete. Hulle was ook die kern van menslike beskawing in die Ooste. Bevolkings groepe vanuit verskeie dele van die Romeinse ryk was in hierdie groot stede te vinde. Stede was 'n hoogs betekensvolle instelling in die Romeinse ryk. Die politieke owerhede wou he dat hellenization en romanization moes sprei van hierdie stede. Die Christelike leiers het ook besluit dat Christendom moes in die stede van die Romeinse ryk sprei. Die apostel Paulus se Christelike sending was dus tot die verskillende stede in die Romeinse ryk. Die sosio-historiese realiteite in hierdie stede was die samehang van Paulus se apostoliese werk en het ook sy verhouding met die betrokke stede bepaal. Die politieke, maatskaplike, kulturele en godsdienstige faktore in 'n stad kon dus 'n invloed uitoefen op sy lewe en werk. Paulus was gewoonlik aangetrokke tot hierdie groot stede waar Joodse gemeenskappe te vinde was. Aangesien Christendom in die Joodse geloof gegrondves was, was sy aanvanklike strategie om sy werk te loots in sinagoge waar Joode te vinde was. Paulus het ook 'n alternatiewe ontmoetings plek vir sy Christelike werk in die stede nodig gehad. Hierdie alternatiewe ontmoetingsplekke was gewoonlik in die huise van indiwidue wat Christene geword het. Die eienaar van hierdie huishouding het gedien as gasheer, weldoener en leier in die kerk. Paulus het ook sy apostoliese werk voortgesit in die stedelike strate. Sy kerke het as gevolg hiervan 'n gemende samelewing status gehad, nogtans het hy gepoog om alle Christene gelykwaardig te stel. Wanneer Paulus 'n stad verlaat het, het hy het ook aan hulle die verantwoordelikheid gegee om uit te reik na hulomliggende streke en provinsies met die Christen boodskap. Hierdie stede moes dus strategies gelee wees. Paulus het vyf spesifieke stede wat 'n voordelig geologiese posisie in die Romeinse provinsies uitgeken om sy apostoliese werk te voltooi in die ooste Middellandse wereld.

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