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Peter, Epistles of

(1,160 words)

Author(s): Karrer, Martin | Achtemeier, Paul J.
1. First Peter The Epistle of 1 Peter is the earliest extant writing associating itself with Peter. Because the ecclesiastical and cultural situation reflected in the letter suggests it was written during the period after a.d. 70, scholars since the 19th century have generally assumed deutero-Petrine authorship. F. C. Baur (1792–1860) viewed it as a mediation text between Jews and Pauline Christianity, though one 20th-century line of thought viewed it more as a deutero-Pauline writing. Recent scholars have uncovered several elements suggesting a more independent origin. ¶ Although…


(1,001 words)

Author(s): Spieckermann, Hermann | Karrer, Martin
1. OT In the Near East, anointing is almost as essential as eating and drinking, with the three often occurring together in cuneiform texts. We also find anointing in many cultic and legal records. In the OT the main Hebrew word for “anointing” is māšaḥ, with šemen used most often for “oil.” Although anointing appears in OT texts of various provenance (e.g., Gen. 28:18; Exodus 40), its primary emphasis is in connection with the appointing of the king (e.g., 2 Sam. 2:4; 5:3). In David’s dynasty anointing quickly established itself as a separate action (1 Kgs. 1:39; 2 Kgs. 11:12; 23:30), a…

Revelation, Book of

(1,550 words)

Author(s): Karrer, Martin
1. Genre and Place in Religious History As the Book of Revelation itself says in 1:1–2, 9–11, it is a “revelation” (apokalypsis) of Jesus Christ that is meant for Christians and is given through “John.” Though being an epistolary work in dialogue with the churches of Asia Minor (1:4, 11), it has predominantly the features of ancient apocalyptic. The early church used the term “apocalypse” for other Christian texts and for Jewish texts that were received by Christians, for example, the Syriac Apocalypse of Baruch. Finally, the Book of Revelation appeared as the primary represent…


(1,121 words)

Author(s): Karrer, Martin
1. Before Easter The apostle Peter apparently came from a Greek-speaking family in Bethsaida. His original name, Simon, is a Greek form of Simeon. His brother Andrew, with whom he worked as a fisherman in Capernaum, had a purely Greek name. Jesus called the brothers, who were at first attracted to John the Baptist, at the beginning of his public ministry (Mark 1:16–18; John 1:35–42). Peter had a leading position among the 12 disciples and was given a new name denoting his character (…

Emperor Worship

(756 words)

Author(s): Karrer, Martin
1. In early antiquity an idea of charismatic kingship was widespread from Mesopotamia to Germany. This notion ascribed a divine origin to rulers in their responsibility for the cult, which was the basis of public well-being. In Egypt thi…

Apostle, Apostolate

(1,320 words)

Author(s): Karrer, Martin
In the NT the term “apostle” denotes someone who is sent. “Apostolate” designates the task and authority of an apostle. 1. History of the Term “Apostle” In pre-Christian Greek the word apostolos relates to the act of sending or to an object that is sent. The idea of a person who is sent is rare in classical Greek; in the papyri it occurs later. There the emphasis on someone who is commissioned suggests a link with the ancient Near Eastern office of the emissary, in which the envoy authoritatively represents the one who commissioned him. This thought stands behind the only use in the LXX (3 Kgdms. 14:6). It became a fixed concept in the Jewish sphere only when the state and temple had collapsed (Israel) and a central authority sent official messengers to the diaspora to make visitations and discharge other tasks. The word used for these envoys, however, was never apostolos but the Aramaic šaliăḥ, perhaps because Christians had in the meantime taken over the Greek equivalent. 2. Adoption by Christianity The official use in Judaism was preceded by the Christian development of the term “apostle,” but the Semitic concept of the envoy formed t…

Philippians, Epistle to the

(1,252 words)

Author(s): Karrer, Martin
1. General Features In about a.d. 48/50, and …

Philemon, Epistle to

(491 words)

Author(s): Karrer, Martin
The letter to Philemon was one of Paul’s prison letters, possibly written from Ephesus in 53–55. Though sent to an individual, it is not strictly private, for the recipient is called a coworker with a church in his house (vv. 1–2), and Paul writes in association with other fellow workers (1, 23–24). The letter consists chiefly of thanksgiving (4–7) and a petition on behalf of Onesimus (8–21). Traditionally, expositors have found here a plea on behalf of a slave who had either misappropriated funds and run away or had not returned from a commission (an “example of Christian love” on Paul’s part, as M. Luther in WA.DB 7.292–93 and many others have called it). It should be noted, however, that the petition is limited to a remission of the debt without any thought to an elimination of the condition of enslavement itself (Slavery). Some modern scholars see the picture rather differently. We are not expressly told in Philemon that Onesimus had been guilty of embezzlement or flight. It is more likely that Onesimus had left his master temporarily (as a vagrant, Lat. erro) or that he had been sent o…


(699 words)

Author(s): Karrer, Martin
The term “antichrist,” which occurs in the NT only in 1 John 2:18, …


(8,330 words)

Author(s): Fahlbusch, Erwin | Preuss, Horst Dietrich | Karrer, Martin | Lochman, Jan Milič | Ciobotea, Dan-Ilie | Et al.
Overview Eschatology is traditionally the doctrine of the last things (from Gk. eschatos, denoting what is last in time). It is of particular interest in modern theology, which speaks of a new phase and of the “eschatologizing” of all theology. At the same time, the haziness of the term (it is also used outside theology) and its varied use seem to make it an example of linguistic confusion in theology. The word was used first by the strict Lutheran theologian Abraham Calovius (1612–86), who, at the end of his 12-volume dogmatics, dealt with death…


(1,465 words)

Author(s): Karrer, Martin
1. Concept Up to the end of the 19th century and even beyond, the parousia was mainly treated dogmatically in terms of the coming again of Christ to judge and to reign. The “again,” however, cannot be traced back beyond the Constantinopolitan Creed (381); the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed (325; Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed) both simply have “come.” What…