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dc.contributor.advisorTrebilco, Paul
dc.contributor.authorHoselton, Luke Richard
dc.identifier.citationHoselton, L. R. (2016). New Creation in Colossians: A Comparative, Exegetical, and Theological Analysis (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy). University of Otago. Retrieved from
dc.description.abstractThis thesis explores the concept of new creation in the letter of Colossians. Although new creation is frequently noted as a feature in Colossians, no article or monograph has ever been devoted to delineating the concept in the letter. My principal contention is that the theological vision of Colossians is implicitly framed and animated by the Pauline concept of new creation. To develop this argument, I construct the investigation methodologically as a comparison between Paul’s explicit use of the concept in Galatians and 2 Corinthians, and Colossians, where I suggest it operates implicitly. In Part I, I build upon previous research on the concept and argue that the phrase “new creation” in Galatians and 2 Corinthians characterizes the eschatological impact of the Christ event in the world, delineating the function of the concept in the anthropological, ecclesiological, and cosmological facets of each letter. Therefore I examine the new creation concept using a heuristic framework with four categories: (1) the Christ event and eschatology; (2) anthropology; (3) ecclesiology; and (4) cosmology. At the same time, I also attempt to identify how the concept fits and operates within the eschatological tension between continuity (salvation history) and discontinuity (apocalyptic) in each letter. In turning to Colossians in Part II, I attempt to demonstrate that while the phrase “new creation” is not used, the concept is discernible within each of these same theological facets of thought, again tracking the eschatological tension in terms of continuity and discontinuity between the ages. In the process of making this argument, I also endeavor to explicate the apocalyptic thought in Colossians using J. Louis Martyn’s approach to apocalyptic as the “invasion of God.” I attempt to show that, at least in Colossians, this reading of apocalyptic is compatible with and even complementary to the traditional reading of apocalyptic thought as a divine “unveiling.” My general argument in Colossians proceeds as follows. I begin by exploring the methodological principles by which we can discern an implicit concept in chapter three. In chapter four I argue that in the theological vision of Colossians the Christ event inaugurates the new creation as the resurrection introduces the new creation age and also as the resurrected Christ is himself the first of the new creation (1:18b). I next endeavor to demonstrate in chapter five that the anthropological argument of Colossians is framed in terms of two antithetical cosmoses, the old cosmos and the new creation. The old cosmos is portrayed as the arena of the Colossians’ former slavery to hostile powers, both personal and impersonal. However, after God invades in the Christ event and defeats the powers (2:15), the Colossians spiritually inhabit the new creation through union with Christ. In chapter six’s discussion of ecclesiology in Colossians, I argue that the Gentile inclusion motif has been underdeveloped in previous studies of the letter. I attempt to demonstrate that when the motif is properly appreciated we find a fascinating tension between eschatological continuity and discontinuity in the letter, as the author constructs the readers’ identity in continuity with the eschatological people of God while at the same time announcing that the soteriological value of ethnicity is erased in the new creation (3:11). Finally, in chapter seven, I argue that the portrayal of cosmology in Colossians is best understood in terms of new creation. I suggest that, similar to certain strands of theological reflection in Jewish apocalyptic literature, the author of Colossians conceives of the present cosmos as being corrupted under the hegemony of the powers. However, the defeat of the powers in the Christ event has cosmological significance, as this initiates cosmic reconciliation (1:20), and the new creation world that has broken in with Christ’s resurrection points to the future renewal of the created order.
dc.publisherUniversity of Otago
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dc.subjectNew Creation
dc.subjectPauline Theology
dc.subjectSalvation History
dc.subjectChrist Event
dc.titleNew Creation in Colossians: A Comparative, Exegetical, and Theological Analysis
dc.language.rfc3066de of Philosophy of Otago
otago.openaccessAbstract Only
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