ISBN : 9780190055738
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
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
"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