Scriptorium Research & Storytelling Centre

Innovatively and creatively transforming education and existential scientific research to empower and enhance capacity .


The expressions, ideas and concepts inferred from Paul's writing has had an undisputed impact on early Christianity and beyond. The interpretation, conceptualisation, exegesis, hermeneutics and theologising of these letters are of the utmost importance for the reconstruction of early Christianity as a movement, first within Judaism and soon afterwards outside of it. Facinating is how Paul as Hellenised Jew conceptualised and understood the Hebrew deity in relation to -and in terms of Jesus who was considered both 'Christ' and 'Lord.' How did Paul approach the highly sensitive matter regarding the 'naming' the Hebrew deity using the Tetragrammaton (יהוה - YHWH)? How did he read and understood the term κύριος as a reproduction of YHWH? Did he fuse a generic Roman-Hellenistic meaning of the term κύριος when used as a reproduction or translated term for the YHWH? When Paul read κύριος in the Hebrew Scriptures did he think YHWH? Was it merely a question of YHWH = κύριος = Jesus as κύριος? Is there any proof that Paul ever considered Jesus as being on par with the personal Hebrew deity, YHWH? How did Paul relate the term κύριος and θεός, including their underlying concepts? And ultimately, what was Paul's concept(s) of the Hebrew deity? These are but some of the questions of which the potential answers lies at the very heart of this study. An attempt will be made to answer some or all of these and other questions. This study would thus investigate the explicit κύριος and θεός citations in the Pauline literature. The Pauline literature , as the general consensus goes, consists of some of the oldest documents in the New Testament. Furthermore, if one would take the so-called deutero-pauline literature into account then it becomes clear that the Corpus Paulinum occupies nearly 50% of the New Testament. Pauline literature is considered to be authentic Pauline material, material written by Paul himself. With explicit citations is meant those citations that can be characterized as such. It is citations that is referred to as 'explicit' based on certain criteria applied to citations, one of which is 'introductory formula' e.g. "as it is written." Furthermore, the explicit citations are also characterized as being κύριος and θεός citations because those citations comprise of either the term κύριος or θεός. As a first necessary step towards answering these questions, this study will identify and define the citations foundational for this investigation. Discussing the 'Literary Probem' will be the focus of the second phase of this study and will occupy itself with the issue of translation and transmission of the related terms. The latter will entail the analysis of manuscripts testifying to both the Hebrew and Greek terms in question, dated between the 3rd century BCE and 2nd century CE. A third stage of the study will describe, evaluate and determine the extent of the impact the manuscript data might have had on the explicit citations used in both Romans and Corinthians, in this particular case. In conclusion, the literary conceptual value of the explicit κύριος and θεός citations will be considered in an attempt (a) to determine a more comprehensive perception of Paul's conceptual understanding of the terms κύριος and θεός; and (b) to formulate a plausible Pauline concept(s) of a Hebrew deity.

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