Sunday, 28 June 2015
Conflict and Identity in Romans: The Social Setting of Paul's Letter,
Philip F. Esler, Fortress Press, 2003, page 12
'Jews' or 'Judeans' is not the only name choice that Esler deprecates.
The need to be accurate in designating identitis, even if they are not ethnic, also demands that we eschew the word 'Christian' in relation to first-century CE phenomena. The Greek word 'Christianos' appears only three times in the New Testament (Acts 11:26, 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16). It is the Greek version of 'Christianus' that was coined by speakers of Latin, among whom the suffix '-ianus' classified people as partisans of a political or military leader, and is mildly contemptuous. An apt translation is "Christ-lackey". It does nor appear to have been used as a self-designation by the group until after the NewTestament period.
Should we be prepared to follow suit and follow Esler's preferred identities as "Christ-follower" or "Christ-believer"? Given the adoption of JBY (Jewish Beliver in Yeshua) as a scholarly term, would we object to GBJ?