Rediscovering Friendship: Awakening to the Power and Promise of Women's Friendships

Rediscovering Friendship: Awakening to the Power and Promise of Women's Friendships

Rediscovering Friendship: Awakening to the Power and Promise of Women's Friendships

Rediscovering Friendship: Awakening to the Power and Promise of Women's Friendships

Synopsis

"Friendship is a broad sphere which unites heaven and earth..."

Less beholden to traditional models of family and to classical male ideals, a new generation is re-evaluating and transforming friendship, says Elizabeth Moltmann-Wendel.

Observing this phenomenon, particularly among women, she elaborates its biblical affinities and its potential for enriching an often-friendless culture. In an honest and meditative style, Moltmann-Wendel finds in friendship new dimensions of adventure, consolation, self-knowledge, love, and political relevance, as well as profound resonances with Jesus' friendships with women, especially Mary Magdalene, and with his friends at the Last Supper.

Excerpt

Friend and friendship are culturally conditioned notions in which there are a variety of emphases. Friendship with God is also an idea which can be found in Socrates, Plato, the Stoa, Hellenistic Judaism and the Mandaean literature. in Christianity we later have a diversity of influences. Here I want to investigate the special biblical aspects of friendship with God and their influence on the history of theology.

The biblical basis

To begin with, four different strands in biblical thought can be brought out:

1. As elsewhere in the history of religion, 'friend of God' is a title which singles a person out. It still has the connotation of being elected, which for example the word philos has in Greek; here the friend is regarded as someone who is hallowed, initiated by God, and thus is elect. Philos (in the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Septuagint) has this significance when Abraham is called 'friend' (Exodus 33.11; 41.8; James z.23). Moses is also compared with a friend of God: 'The Lord spoke with Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend' (Exodus 33.11).

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