The first letter of Peter remains a relatively neglected corner of the New Testament: the number of monographs devoted to it is tiny, compared with those on the Gospels and Pauline letters. Yet it is a text - so this book argues - that offers much insight into crucial processes in the development of Christian identity. In particular, 1 Peter illustrates with particular clarity the complex ways in which Christian identity was forged from Jewish traditions and negotiated in the generally hostile Roman empire. As such, studies of this particular letter illuminate central themes in the making of Christianity in the earliest centuries. "Becoming Christian" is a collection of essays that treat various facets of the first letter of Peter, in its social and historical setting, in some cases using new social-scientific and postcolonial methods to shed light on the ways in which the letter contributes to the making of Christian identity. At the heart of the book are chapters 5-7, which examine the contribution of 1 Peter to the construction of Christian identity, the persecution and suffering of Christians in Asia Minor, the significance of the name 'Christian', and the response of the letter to the hostility encountered by Christians in society. There are no recent books which bring together such a wealth of information and analysis of this crucial early Christian text. "Becoming Christian" has developed out of Horrell's ongoing research for the International Critical Commentary on 1 Peter. Together these essays will offer a series of significant and original engagements with this letter, and a resource for studies of 1 Peter for some time to come.
Table of contents
Introduction Chapter 1: The Product of a Petrine Circle? A Reassessment of the Origin and Character of 1 Peter. Chapter 2: The Themes of 1 Peter: Insights from the Earliest Manuscripts Chapter 3: Who are 'the Dead' and When was the Gospel Preached to Them? The Interpretation of 1 Peter 4.6. Chapter 4: The socio-economic location of the addressees of 1 Peter. Chapter 5: The "Chosen Race" (1 Pet 2.9): Ethnic Identity and the Making of the tertium genus Chapter 6: The Label Christianos: 1 Pet 4.16 and the Formation of Christian Identity. Chapter 7: Between Conformity and Resistance: Beyond the Balch-Elliott Debate Towards a Postcolonial Reading of 1 Peter. Bibliography Indexes
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