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Title: Priestly Kingdom and Holy Nation: An Exegetical and Theological Analysis of Exodus 19
Authors: Ossom-Batsa, G.
Gatti, N.
Osei-Sarfo, P.
University of Ghana, College of Humanities, School of Arts, Department of Religions
Keywords: Nation
Priestly Kingdom
Issue Date: Jul-2015
Publisher: University of Ghana
Abstract: Exod. 19:6 contains a statement that is unique in the Tanak, and greatly influenced the Jewish and Christian Theology vAd+q' yAgæw> ~ynIßh]Ko tk,l,îm.m;. (“kingdom of priest and holy nation”). For some centuries, scholars have offered diverse interpretations of the syntagm that can be summarized into two main schools of thought: the ‘elitist’ and the ‘active-corporatist’. The elitist argue that “kingdom of priests and holy nation” refers to just a group of Israelites called to be priests. The active-corporatist understands the statement to mean the totality of Israel as priests. Against this background, this research aims to analyze Exod. 19:6 in order to show if the designation as a kingdom of priest and holy nation offers any significant meaning to the understanding of Israel’s identity and mission, and the relevance of the text to the Ghanaian contemporary Charismatic churches The research employs a synchronic approach, namely the Rhetorical Critical method, to arrive at an informed understanding of the text in its context (Exod.19). Following the exegetical steps suggested by Moller, the research seeks to determine the limits of the rhetorical unit, its rhetoric organization, specific manifestation and application of rhetorical genre, the style and the strategies used by the author of Exodus in the process of persuading his audience. Due to the fact that the hermeneutical cycle is incomplete until the text is made to speak to the contemporary situation of a reader, the communicative approach suggested by Ossom-Batsa is employed to underscore the relevance of the text to contemporary Charismatics, namely the International Central Gospel Church. The analysis reveals that Exodus 19 can be considered a ‘bridge’ text that closes the ‘liberation narrative’ and opens up a reflection about the identity and mission of Israel. It identifies the initiative plan of YHWH to liberate Israel from their struggle under Egyptian oppression and to enter into personal relationship with the nation as a whole. This research argues, on semantic and contextual ground, for the active-corporate interpretation of Israel’s priestly status. It also establishes that Israel’s priestly status expresses a unique intimate relationship with YHWH rather than a cultic function. Furthermore, the analysis underlines the impact of the text on the New Testament and contemporary Ghanaian Christianity. The study reveals that both 1 Peter and Revelation use the text as a hermeneutic key to read their difficult situation theologically. In both instances, the authors relied on the text to remind the first century communities of their identity in Christ and to encourage them to be faithful even in the midst of rejection and persecution. The appropriation of the text did not end with the closure of the Canon. The I.C.G.C.’s adoption of the text reveals that the statement is significant in their theology, worship and practice. The Charismatic Church does not only see itself as continuing the progressive history of Israel but, through the lens of 1 Peter, believes that the common priesthood brings real transformation. Finally, the study recommends further research on a comparative study between the Old and New Testament concept of priesthood for better understanding of the common priesthood of Christians from a Charismatic perspective. It further recommends that Charismatic leaders in their preaching, teaching and worship should emphasize the integration between life realities and the Christian relationship with the Lord.
Description: Thesis (MPhil) - University of Ghana, 2015
Appears in Collections:Department of Religions

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