Saint Paul as Spiritual Director: An Analysis of the Concept of the Imitation of Paul with Implications and Applications to the Practice of Spiritual Direction

By Howard, James M. | Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, December 2008 | Go to article overview

Saint Paul as Spiritual Director: An Analysis of the Concept of the Imitation of Paul with Implications and Applications to the Practice of Spiritual Direction


Howard, James M., Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society


(ProQuest: ... denotes Greek characters omitted (or Cyrillic characters omitted.))

Saint Paul as Spiritual Director: An Analysis of the Concept of the Imitation of Paul with Implications and Applications to the Practice of Spiritual Direction. By Victor Copan. Paternoster Biblical Monographs. Milton Keynes: Paternoster, 2007, xxvi + 296 pp., £19.99 paper.

This book is an analysis of the "concept of the imitation of Paul as reflected in the uncontested Pauline epistles in order to determine its relevance to the practice of spiritual direction" (p. 1). It is an updated 2001 doctoral dissertation originally submitted to the University of Vienna, supervised by Dr. Suzanne Heine.

Chapters 1 and 2 introduce the topic and survey the field and terminology related to spiritual direction. Copan argues that effectiveness in spiritual direction is not primarily the product of technique but of the character and lifestyle of the one providing the direction. Therefore, it is interesting that his survey of the literature reveals little discussion regarding the one providing direction-technique is at the forefront of the literature-thus revealing a weakness in his opinion. It is this "total shape" of the director's life-ethos in classical rhetorical understanding-that Copan focuses on in this study and its impact on the effectiveness of imitation. His primary thesis is that "it was the ethos of the Apostle Paul that made such a strong and life-changing impact on his followers" (p. 2) and that this provides a model for the practice of spiritual direction today.

After reviewing the related terminology, he concludes that there is a "high degree of elasticity" regarding spiritual direction, which presents a challenge in coming to a common understanding of the core meaning. After positing a series of "generative" questions, Copan presents a working definition-"spiritual direction is the (variegated) means by which one person intentionally influences another person or persons in the development of his life as a Christian with the goal of developing his relationship to God and His purposes for that person in the world" (p. 39).

Chapter 3 places the concept of imitation within the context of the Greco-Roman world. As noted by Copan, imitation was common in the ancient world in both the Greek and Jewish literature. This is easily established within the Greek literature in that the practice of imitation was widespread through modeling one's life after living persons, persons of antiquity, groups, spiritual beings, non-human objects, and specific characteristics and virtues. While there is very little "terminological parallel" in the LXX or Jewish intertestamental literature demonstrating the concept of imitation in Judaism, Copan argues for verbal linkage through Philo's and Josephus's use of µ?µ?t?? and conceptual linkage through Paul's frequent analogical use of the OT and its personalities. This leads Copan to conclude that there are multiple sources for the concept of imitation, "primarily influenced by the Greek educational/moral tradition and shaped by the Judaic understanding of parenting and teaching" (p. 44). The primary relational settings where imitation occurred were the parent-child, teacher-student, and leader-group relationships. As Paul positions himself as parent, teacher, and leader, it would have been perceived as normal that he would function as a model to be imitated. Due to the high priority of community, the concepts of shame and honor, which were "vital realities in the daily lives of Greek and Jewish people" (p. 70), created an environment in which imitation was both pervasive and powerful in the Greco-Jewish world.

Chapters 4, 5, and 6 analyze Paul's imitation language in the Thessalonian, Corinthian, and Philippian correspondence, respectively. Copan's goal is twofold: (1) to determine how imitation is configured, including the scope, in these contexts; and (2) to discern what the texts reveal explicitly or implicitly about Paul, the person, and his relationship with the recipients.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Saint Paul as Spiritual Director: An Analysis of the Concept of the Imitation of Paul with Implications and Applications to the Practice of Spiritual Direction
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.