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Strangers to Family

Diaspora and 1 Peter's Invention of God's Household

Shively T.J. Smith (author)

ISBN: 9781481305488

Publication Date: Oct 2016

Format: Hardback

In Strangers to FamilyShively Smith reads the Letter of 1 Peter through a new model of diaspora. Smith illuminates this peculiarly Petrine understanding of diaspora by situating it among three other select perspectives from extant Hellenist Jewish writings: the Daniel court tales, the Letter of Aristeas, and Philo's works.
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In Strangers to FamilyShively Smith reads the Letter of 1 Peter through a new model of diaspora. Smith illuminates this peculiarly Petrine understanding of diaspora by situating it among three other select perspectives from extant Hellenist Jewish writings: the Daniel court tales, the Letter of Aristeas, and Philo's works.

While 1 Peter tends to be taken as representative of how diaspora was understood in Hellenistic Jewish and early Christian circles, Smith demonstrates that 1 Peter actually reverses the most fundamental meaning of diaspora as conceived by its literarypeers. Instead of connoting the scattering of a people with a common territorial origin,for 1 Peter, diaspora constitutes an "already-scattered-people" who share a common, communal, celestial destination.

Smith's discovery of a distinctive instantiation of diaspora in 1 Peter capitalizes on her careful comparative historical, literary, and theological analysis of diaspora constructionsfound in Hellenistic Jewish writings. Her reading of 1 Peter thus challenges the use of the exile and wandering as master concepts to read 1 Peter, reconsiders the conceptual significance of diaspora in 1 Peter and in the entire New Testament canon, and liberates 1 Peter from being interpreted solely through the rubrics of either the stranger-homelessness model or household codes. First Peter does not recycle standard diasporic identity, but is, as Strangers to Familydemonstrates, an epistle that represents the earliest Christian construction of diaspora as a way of life.
Pages 229
Dimensions 229 x 152
Date Published 30 Oct 2016
Publisher Baylor University Press
Subject/s Ancient history: to c 500 CE   History of religion   Biblical studies & exegesis  
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • Abbreviations
  • Introduction
  • Part 1. Diaspora through the Lens of 1 Peter
  • Chapter 1. Chosen Kinship: Imagining Christian Diaspora
  • Chapter 2. The Cultic Life: Practices of the Christian Diaspora
  • Chapter 3. Provinces and Households: The Relational Matrix of the Christian Diaspora
  • Part 2. Diaspora the Way Others Imagine
  • Chapter 4. Diaspora Life in Babylon: The Court Tales of Daniel
  • Chapter 5. Diaspora in Egypt: The Letter of Aristeas
  • Chapter 6. Diaspora in Alexandria: Philo
  • Conclusion: Liberating 1 Peter's Diaspora Vision
  • Bibliography
  • Index
Shively T. J. Smith is Assistant Professor of New Testament at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.

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