Saturday, 21 March 2015

Judith Kovacs: ‘“In order that we might follow him in all things”: Interpretation of Gospel texts in the Excerpts from Theodotus 66-86.

This paper explores how the interpretation of specific gospel texts in the fourth part of Clement’s Excerpts from Theodotus (#66-86) exemplifies a principle of exegesis stated in #76: “As the birth of the Saviour released us from becoming and from Fate, so also his baptism rescued us from passion in order that we might follow him in all things.” In a creative synthesis of verses from the Pauline letters with narratives from the gospels, the Valentinian author interprets the birth, baptism, temptation, and crucifixion of the Saviour as paradigms for salvific experiences in the life of the believer. For example the celebration of the Saviour’s victory over evil powers in Colossians 2 facilitates an interpretation of the star appearing at his birth (Matthew 2) as announcing rescue from Fate, and Paul’s exhortation to “put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” helps draw out the existential lesson from the story of the Savior’s temptation, when he lived with the “wild beasts.”

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