Exiting Israel: the exodus narrative in Early Christian worldview & identity
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 01:00 authored by Alex Macdonald
Early Christianity was profoundly shaped by its Jewish heritage. In order to understand the emergence of Christianity, we must consider the role of Jewish stories, texts, and ideas upon the worldviews and identities of the New Testament authors. Few narratives were so significant for Jewish self-understanding as the exodus story. Building on the allusive and narrative approaches proposed by scholars like Richard Hays and Tom Wright, this thesis investigates the role of the exodus story in shaping the worldviews and identities put forth the New Testament epistles (specifically 1 Corinthians, Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, 1 Peter, and Hebrews). Though the influence of the exodus differs somewhat across each of these texts, all draw on this potent Jewish metanarrative to frame the outlook and self-understanding of the church – they are an exodus people. Furthermore, we may observe that the way these Christians engaged with the exodus story was not entirely novel or different to the ways that the exodus featured in their Jewish background. This Jewish story served to distinguish Christianity from national Israel, while still promoting substantially Jewish worldviews and identities.