Constructing the Gospels with Elisha’s Axe: Christian Soteriology, Discipleship, and Wonder-Working Focalized through the Medieval English Liturgy for the Ordeal by Water
Klauber, Andrew M.
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CitationKlauber, Andrew M. 2021. Constructing the Gospels with Elisha’s Axe: Christian Soteriology, Discipleship, and Wonder-Working Focalized through the Medieval English Liturgy for the Ordeal by Water. Harvard Divinity School.
AbstractThis thesis examines the significance of the pericope of Elisha’s axe head on the formation of the Gospels and the Christian theology of discipleship. By spotlighting the role of Elisha’s axe head in the medieval English liturgy for the ordeal by water, this investigation reveals the lasting significance of this otherwise slight narrative from 2 Kings 6:1-7 on the ability of a priest to effect a miracle. Previous scholarship on the ordeal by water ignores any theological explanation for the ritual of the ordeal by water, whereas this investigation does not resort to historicizing or moralizing what contemporary priests understood as a miracle. Instead, this thesis proposes that the manner in which the Elijah-Elisha narrative cycle of 1 and 2 Kings was subsumed into and transformed by the canonical Gospels resulted in a novel theory of discipleship by which the holy spirit passes from teacher to disciple in an apostolic succession. It is this succession which endows the medieval English priest with the ability to effect a miracle and ritualistically adjudge the guilt of an accused individual. This investigation also attempts to argue for the impact of the prophetic narratives of Elijah and Elisha in the Hebrew Bible upon the narrative, characters, and soteriology of the Gospels of Mark, Luke, Matthew, and John. Through comparative analyses of characters, narrative structures, and motifs of discipleship, the significance of the Elijah-Elisha prophetic cycle upon the composition of the Gospels is revealed. It is through the transformation of these elements, particularly through the depiction of the relationships between John the Baptist, Jesus, and the Disciples, that a novel theory of prophetic discipleship is expounded.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37368113
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