A State of Mixture: Christians, Zoroastrians, and Iranian by Richard E. Payne

By Richard E. Payne

Christian groups flourished in the course of overdue antiquity in a Zoroastrian political procedure, often called the Iranian Empire, that built-in culturally and geographically disparate territories from Arabia to Afghanistan into its associations and networks. while past reviews have seemed Christians as marginal, insular, and sometimes persecuted members during this empire, Richard Payne demonstrates their integration into elite networks, adoption of Iranian political practices and imaginaries, and participation in imperial associations. the increase of Christianity in Iran trusted the Zoroastrian concept and perform of hierarchical, differentiated inclusion, in keeping with which Christians, Jews, and others occupied valid locations in Iranian political tradition in positions subordinate to the imperial faith. Christians, for his or her half, situated themselves in a political tradition now not in their personal making, with recourse to their very own ideological and institutional assets, starting from the writing of saints’ lives to the judicial arbitration of bishops. In putting the social background of East Syrian Christians on the heart of the Iranian imperial tale, A country of blend is helping clarify the persistence of a culturally various empire throughout 4 centuries.

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The present book gives a fair hearing to this prospect, with special attention to divine severity in the redemption of humans. The central New Testament message portrays divine grace as culminating in the self-sacrificial life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, in keeping with God’s will for human redemption. According to this message, the self-offering of Jesus to God on behalf of humans includes an invitation to humans to share God’s life of perfect righteousness. The human response ideally includes self-giving trust in God (and in Jesus as God’s representative), because God seeks to have humans relate to God freely, reverently, and wholeheartedly.

1:4; cf. Rom. 5:15). This does not seem to be a merely instrumental use of “in,” as if the point were simply that the grace of God has been given by means of Jesus. Paul does think of God’s grace as a gift coming through, or by means of, Jesus (see Rom. 5:17), but he has something further in mind. He holds that Jesus Christ himself distinctively personifies God’s grace for humans, particularly for their having reconciled life in companionship with God. Paul summarizes the point as follows: “you know the grace (charis) of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for Divine wisdom personified 33 your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich” (2 Cor.

God’s allowing an action by another agent does not entail God’s causing, performing, recommending, or approving that action. A particularly memorable case of severity emerges in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ as a self-avowed emissary for God. Aside from the theological significance of his crucifixion, the human treatment of Jesus just before his death was remarkably severe. Some 42 Severity and God theologians assign this severe treatment ultimately to God, and not just to the Roman officials and soldiers, on the ground that God chose to punish Jesus to save humans from the just deserts of their sins.

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