Tuesday, January 07, 2020

The purpose

Finally, with their high concentration of poetic features or elevated stylistic features, their focus on divine realities associated with God’s plan for humanity through Christ, together with their use of imagery and themes that resonated with their cultural contexts, it seems that the early christological hymns were far more than just a codification of doctrine or a logical statement of Christian beliefs. Rather, as hymns these passages also had an affective dimension and an allusive quality that had the potential to engage the emotions as well as the mind. Accordingly, early Christian worship offered imagery and language that had an evocative power capable of engaging the emotions of its participants and enabling them to see themselves as part of an imaginal world in which all powers are subject to the exalted Jesus. In some instances early Christian hymns explicitly brought into view a verbal picture of the exalted Jesus. In all cases, through language associated with praise of the divine, they invited their listeners as worshipers into an experience of the realities about which they spoke.—Matthew Gordley, New Testament Christological Hymns, p. 224

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