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The Practice of Hope

Ideology and Intention in 1 Thessalonians

Author(s): Nestor O. Miguez

ISBN13: 9780800698249

ISBN10: 080069824X

Publisher: Augsburg Fortress (26 July 2012)

Extent: 240 pages

Binding: Hardback

Size: 16 x 2.5 x 22.6 cm

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  • Although the political interpretation of Paul is still considered something of a novelty in North America and Europe, it is well established in Latin America and among theologians of liberation. In The Practice of Hope, Néstor O. Míguez brings the insights of historical-critical study and political analysis together with incisive theological reflection.


    Taking on European philosophical interpretations of Paul, the "North Atlantic consensus" regarding social stratification in the Pauline churches, and the distortions of "rapture" theology, Míguez situates Paul's mission in the political context of Roman Thessalonica and reads his first letter in engagement with Latin American realities. The result is a surprising rediscovery of Paul as an organic intellectual for whom hope is always a socially concrete reality.



    Foreword ix

    Preface xi

    1. Introduction: Paul’s Relevance Today 1

    The relevance of a Necessary Theme 4

    2. Methodological Considerations  16

    a Starting point 16

    Methodological convergence or eclecticism? 20

    Some Key concepts 23

    3. Antecedents and Thesis 31

    antecedents 31

    My Working hypothesis 32

    “The historical Bloc” of the roman principate 34

    The presence of the church: paul and the church of Thessalonica 37

    The construction of a Theology as a Symbolic organizer:

    an ideological confrontation with the empire 41

    hermeneutical elaborations 43

    4. The Urban Character of the Church among Gentiles 46

    The existence of a Different Modality of Labor 47

    The organization of an urban religious rationality 47

    forms of urban Living in the religious context  49

    5. Life in Thessalonica 51

    Thessalonica in the empire 51

    Social Makeup 52

    economic and political facts 53

    ideological and religious factors 53vi Contents

    6. Social Composition of the Church of Thessalonica 56

    The North atlantic Multiclassist consensus 56

    The “extreme poverty” of the churches of Macedonia 58

    The community of artisans of Thessalonica 64

    Working Day and Night  64

    evaluation of Manual Labor 66

    paul and his artisan Brothers and Sisters of Thessalonica 70

    7. Paul and the Gentile Church 72

    8. The Political Analogy in Pauline Language 77

    The assembly of a particular people 77

    The government of Jesus the Kyrios 79

    a political project 81

    The Language of Brotherhood and Sisterhood 82

    The Semantic field of the political analogy 83

    9. The Text of the First Letter of Paul to the Thessalonians 86

    10.  The Missionary Project of Paul in the First Letter

    to the Thessalonians 90

    The practice of communicating the Message 90

    paul’s “autobiography” and the evangelization Strategy 94

    confrontation with other ideologies 96

    an example of the Strategy itself 100

    The Strategic goal 102

    The “Strategy” of persecution 104

    11. The Risk and Future of Paul’s Strategy 109

    The eschatological Dimension of the Mission 110

    The identity Threatened, Strategy at risk 113

    Mutual confirmation 118

    The identity assured 119

    The future Strategy 123

    12. An Excluding Option 125

    Structure of the ethical Discourse 125

    The path to Sanctification 127

    Sexual ethics as Differentiation 127

    a Different Vision of power relations 129

    god at the center of human relations 129

    continuity and rupture with pagan Society 131Contents vii

    13. The Awaited Revolution 133

    The revolutionary proclamation 133

    Not Like the others, Who have No hope 134

    The identity: Being with god 135

    The revolutionary promise 136

    The “Seizure of power” 137

    The Value of political irrationality as hope 140

    Excursus I On the Rapture 142

    14. The Counterhegemonic Strategy 145

    a Discourse of confrontation 145

    an ignorance That Stands for Knowledge 146

    The power That redeems the Weak 147

    Neither Much peace, Nor Much Security 148

    an enlightened confrontation 149

    The conduct That anticipates the Kingdom 151

    The confrontation and the Symbolic creativity 152

    15. Paul in Thessalonica according to Acts 156

    analysis of acts 17:1-10 156

    Socioanalytical aspects 159

    The antecedent of philippi 160

    athens: a center of the Dominant ideology 163

    The confrontation at Thessalonica 165

    The ideological confrontation and the political conflict 171

    16. Paul as a “Strategist” and “the Christian Revolution” 173

    paul as a “a revolutionary Strategist” 173

    paul’s Strategy in 1 Thessalonians 174

    The emerging faith and antihegemonic Struggle 175

    paul’s Strategy and the Lord’s coming 176

    What is “the christian revolution”? 177

    Strategy in the face of power 179

    history and Determinism in “the christian revolution” 180

    Differentiation and unity in paul’s Strategy 182

    Excursus II Nascent Christianity Viewed by the Empire 183

    christianity as Superstition 183

    christianity as hatred of humanity 184

    christianity as a Novelty and a curse 185

    christianity as atheism  187

    conclusion: christianity as an enemy of the empire 187viii Contents

    Excursus III A Hermeneutical and Theological Reflection 189

    Notes 193

    Bibliography 227

    Biblical Sources 227

    classical Sources 227

    Sources consulted and cited 227

    Indexes 239

    index 1 391

    index 2 402

  • Nestor O. Miguez

    Néstor O. Míguez is Professor of Bible at the Instituto Universitario ISEDET in Buenos Aires and the author of numerous books and articles on the theological and political interpretation of the New Testament, including Juan de Patmos: El Visionario y Su Visión, El Jesús del Pueblo, and with his father José Míguez Bonino, That You May Have Life: Encounters with Jesus in the Gospel of John (1989).

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