Christ Is King: Paul's Royal Ideology

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9781451482102: Christ Is King: Paul's Royal Ideology

Until recently, many scholars have read Paul's use of the word Christos as more of a proper name ("Jesus Christ") than a title, Jesus the Messiah. One result, Joshua W. Jipp argues, is that important aspects of Paul's thinking about Jesus' messiahship have gone unrecognized. Jipp argues that kingship discourse is an important source for Paul's christological language: Paul uses royal language to present Christ as the good king. Jipp surveys Greco-Roman and Jewish depictions of the ideal king and argues for the influence of these traditions on several aspects of Paul's thought: king and law (Galatians 5–6; Romans 13–15; 1 Corinthians 9); hymning to the king (Colossians 1:15-20); the just and faithful king; the royal roots of Paul's language of participation "in Christ"; and the enthroned king (Romans 1:3-4; 1 Corinthians 15:20-28). Jipp finds that Paul's use of royal tropes is indeed significant. Christos is a royal honorific within Paul's letters, and Paul is another witness to ancient discussions of monarchy and ideal kingship. In the process, Jipp offers new and noteworthy solutions to outstanding questions concerning Christ and the law, the pistis Christou debate, and Paul's participatory language.

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"It seems that scholars have greatly neglected the royal dimensions resonating in and around Paul's repeated designation of Jesus as Christ or Messiah. In Jipp's skillful hands, the rich and complex discourse of kingship prevalent in Paul's day is shown to lie at the heart of many of his most important motifs and arguments. The result is the introduction of significant new interpretative angles on almost all the key questions in current Pauline analysis, coupled with the advocacy of a bold new proposal for the center of Paul's thought as a whole. This is an important book, creative, comprehensively researched, and thoroughly argued, by a NT scholar of rapidly increasing stature."
Douglas Campbell
Duke Divinity School

"Joshua Jipp has produced a carefully researched, lucidly written, and compelling case for the influence of ancient ideologies about good kingship on Paul's Christology. His work invites us to rethink our understanding of certain central issues in Pauline theology, not least 'participation' and 'righteousness/justification.' Indeed, Jipp demonstrates that royal motifs permeate Paul's letters. An important book."

Michael J. Gorman
St. Mary's Seminary & University


"Combining an impressive command of both Greco-Roman and Jewish literature with close analysis of Paul's letters, Joshua Jipp convincingly argues that the designation "Christ" should be taken, not as an empty marker, but as a pointer to ancient discourse about kings. By placing key passages in Romans, 1 Corinthians, Philippians and Colossians in conversation with what was expected of the ideal king, Jipp throws new light on Paul's language and provides significant insight into Paul's understanding of Jesus. "
Luke T. Johnson
Emory University



"This is a very impressive book. Bringing his formidable classical learning to bear on the Pauline epistles, Joshua Jipp shows how Paul's royal messiah Christology, long maligned or neglected by modern interpreters, offers solutions to several thorny problems in the interpretation of the apostle. Scholars of Paul and of early Christology, take note."
Matthew Novenson
The University of Edinburgh

About the Author:

Joshua W. Jipp is assistant professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. His recent publications include Divine Visitations and Hospitality to Strangers in Luke–Acts: An Interpretation of the Malta Episode in Acts 28:1-10 (2013). Jipp also received the Paul J. Achtemeier Award for New Testament Scholarship for an earlier version of the second chapter from Christ Is King.

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