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Paul’s Metaphors: Their Context and Character

Paul’s Metaphors: Their Context and Character

David J. Williams

| Hendrickson | 1999

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Paul’s writings are laced with vivid images from the bustling New Testament world. To understand these metaphors, David J. Williams delves into that Greco-Roman world and uses ancient sources to explore a wide variety of topics, such as architecture, law, commerce, health care, and education. Williams studies this world in chapters with such titles as “Life in the City,” “Family Life,” “Slavery and Freedom,” “Citizens and Courts of Law,” “Travel,” and “Warfare and Soldiering.”

Paul’s metaphors, set apart in bold type, are examined in the light of this background information and restored to their original vitality. Well-known metaphors—the Christian as a slave of Christ, the church as a body, Paul’s two natures being at war within him, the Christian as an athlete striving toward the prize, Jesus’ return as a thief in the night, Christians as adopted heirs of God—and lesser-known metaphors alike come to life for the modern reader through Williams’ careful exposition.

The main text is accessible to the general reader; scholars will appreciate footnotes that discuss the Greek text and provide resources for further study. Appendix 1 lists a select chronology of the Roman Empire, and Appendix 2 provides dates and descriptions of significant ancient authors and tests. Scripture, ancient source, and modern author indexes add to the usefulness of this work.