‘By a Man Whom He Had Appointed’: Jesus as Judge in Light of Greek Concepts of Death and Judgement
September 30, 2021 04:30 PM - 05:00 PM On Demand Save the Date
At the end of his Areopagus speech in Acts 17, the apostle Paul declares that Jesus is the “man whom [God] had appointed” to be his agent of righteous judgement. He states that God assured this by raising Jesus from the dead—an assertion that engendered a derisive response from some of his audience.
A recent study by Kai Akagi (Proclaiming the Judge of the Living and the Dead: The Christological Significance of Judgement in Acts 10 and 17, 2019) has examined this passage in light of other portrayals of eschatological judges in Second Temple Jewish literature. Akagi’s study does not include non-Jewish Hellenistic texts, but he notes, “Discussion of judgement in non-Jewish Hellenistic literature would inform the interpretation of both speeches in a broader context” (25). Indeed, since the declaration of Jesus as resurrected judge in Acts 10 and 17 appears in the context of speeches to predominantly Gentile audiences, an exploration of non-Jewish literature is expected to shed further light on Luke’s use of this theme.
since the declaration of Jesus as resurrected judge in Acts 10 and 17 appears in the context of speeches to predominantly Gentile audiences, an exploration of non-Jewish literature is expected to shed further light on Luke’s use of this theme.
This paper seeks to contribute to this analysis of Jesus as judge in Acts by considering this theme in light of non-Jewish Hellenistic literature, with a focus on the myth of the appointment of Rhadamanthus, Minos and Aeacus as judges in the afterlife in the writings of Homer, Pindar, Virgil, Plato, Plutarch, Lucian, and Athenagoras.
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