Divine Guidance: Lessons for Today from the World of Early Christianity

ISBN : 9780190055738

John A. Jillions
336 ページ
156 x 235 mm
  • Explores the question of how to understand the concept of divine guidance, given that it has been credited for both good and evil acts
  • Draws on thought from first-century Corinth, where Jews, Gentiles, and early Christians debated these issues
  • Offers an outline for the 21st century and suggests criteria for assessing perceived divine guidance

The twenty-first century opened with the religiously-inspired attacks of 9/11 and in the years since such attacks have become all too common. Over against the minority who carry out violence at God's direction, however, there are millions of believers around the world who live lives of anonymous kindness. They also see their actions as guided by the divine. How is divine guidance to be understood against the background of such diametrically opposed results? How to make sense of both Osama bin Laden and Mother Teresa?
In order to answer this question, John A. Jillions turns to the first-century world of Corinth, where Jews, Gentiles, and early Christians intermixed and vigorously debated the question of divine guidance. In this ancient melting pot, the ideas of writers and poets, philosophers, rabbis, prophets, and the apostle Paul confronted and complemented each other. These writers reveal a culture that reflected deeply upon the realities, ambiguities, and snares posed by questions of divine guidance. Jillions draws these insights together to offer an outline for the twenty-first century and suggest criteria for how to assess perceived divine guidance. Jillions opens a long-closed window in the history of ideas in order to shed valuable light on this timeless question.



Introduction: Divine Guidance in the 1st and 21st centuries

Part I. Divine Guidance Among Greeks and Romans: Corinth as a Case Study

1. Roman Corinth
2. The Archeology of Divine Guidance in Corinth
3. The Literature of Divine Guidance: Homer, Virgil and Horace
4. Other Roman Writers: Propertius, Ovid, Livy, Lucan and Petronius
5. The Stoic Philosopher Posidonius
6. Roman Philosophers: Lucretius, Cicero, Seneca, Pliny
7. Plutarch: Greco-Roman Bridge Between Rational and Mystical

Part II. Divine Guidance Among Jews

8. The Jewish Community
9. Philo
10. Josephus
11. The Dead Sea Scrolls, Pseudepigrapha, and "Expansions of Scripture"
12. Rabbinic Sources

Part III. Paul

13. Neither Jew nor Greek: 1 Corinthians, Paul's Primer on Divine Guidance

Part IV. Reprise: Divine Guidance in the 1st and 21st Centuries

14. Divine Guidance: Continuing the Conversation into the Twenty-First Century



John A. Jillions did his doctoral research at Tyndale House, Cambridge, and Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, where he received a PhD in New Testament in 2002. He has MDiv and DMin degrees from St Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary and a BA in Economics from McGill University. He was founding Principal of the Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies in Cambridge, Associate Professor of Theology at Saint Paul University in Canada, and served for seven years in New York as Chancellor of the Orthodox Church in America. He is currently Associate Professor of Religion and Culture at St Vladimir's Seminary and teaches "Faith and Critical Reason" at Fordham University. He has been a priest since 1984, serving communities in Australia, Greece, England, Canada and the United States, where he now serves as pastor of Holy Ghost Church in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

"By a comprehensive historical survey of literary and religious evidence from Greco-Roman and Jewish cultures, Fr. Jillions offers a brilliant analysis of Paul's letter to the Corinthians. Philosophical reflections about grace and free will, faith and reason, inspired Scripture and personal experience, encounter the cross. This book reflects that of all theological doctrines, the most challenging may be providence: does God sit idle in heaven, or does he exercise divine guidance in our lives?" -- David W. Fagerberg, Professor, University of Notre Dame
"John Jillions has written a book that is a splendid work of scholarship, and on a fascinating (if neglected) topic. But it is ever so much more than that: a rich, searching, moving meditation on some of the most essential dimensions of spiritual longing and religious hope." -- David Bentley Hart, author of The Hidden and the Manifest: Essays in Theology and Metaphysics
"This is a work of original scholarship that breaks new ground. It is of interest to specialists in the field of New Testament studies and early church history, but it is written in such a way that it will also appeal to a wider field, including theology students in general, and clergy and laity who are not necessary academics. I predict it will become the standard treatment of the subject." -- Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware) of Diokleia