Original Research - Special Collection: Old Testament and New Testament Studies

Pax Romana as agtergrond van die Christelike kerugma

Frans J. Boshoff
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 71, No 3 | a2994 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v71i3.2994 | © 2015 Frans J. Boshoff | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 07 April 2015 | Published: 31 August 2015

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Frans J. Boshoff, Faculty of Theology, Reformed Theological College, University of Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

Pax Romana as background of the Christian kerygma: The concept ‘kingdom of God’ is fundamental to the kerygma on the salvific meaning of Jesus Christ in New Testament times. This article aims to explore the raison d’être why this concept had been such an important element in the kerygma. It argues that the Pax Romana as the primary ideology of the Roman Empire played a significant role. The Pax Romana advocated harmony with the gods, and subsequent heavenly peace and global stability and security in the inhabited world. However, the kerygma replaced the Pax Romana as an ideology with the apocalyptic-eschatological concept ‘kingdom of God’. According to apocalyptic eschatology, an end to the known world is expected. This end was considered to be a cataclysmic catastrophe awaiting in the future, albeit indeterminate to humankind. On the contrary, the church’s kerygma proclaimed that the kingdom of God was already present. An element of Jewish apocalyptism, however, remained in the Christian religion - yet adjusted. That is, although the kingdom of God was regarded already present, the idea of a second coming of Christ as Redeemer was upheld. The article demonstrates that the Christian kerygma on the realised kingdom of God had its origins in the expectation of an utopia, as envisaged in the Pax Romana as ideology.


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