The Christian Marathoner: Athletic References in Paul’s Epistles
Keywords:Epistolography, Evangelism, Hellenism, Sport.
AbstractWhen the Apostle Paul came to Corinth, most likely in the year 50 AD, Corinth had regained its cosmopolitan importance after its destruction by the Romans in 146 BC. Once again it was a prominent and flourishing commerce city. Its bustling population developed the city and its port to be a vital connecting link between Italy and the eastern provinces of the Roman Empire. After a century of virtual abandonment, Corinth’s Isthmian Games were once again celebrated in the same festive manner as they had been in the past. Since Paul, on his first visit remained in Corinth for eighteen months, as indicated in the book of Acts of the Apostles, he must have been present at the Isthmian Games held in the spring of 51 AD. This experience, as well as those of his own youthful Hellenic and Judaic educational upbringing, gave Paul the opportunity to re-acquaint himself with pagan rituals and use athletic images to spread his evangelical message. Although there is no documented evidence that Paul was an athlete, this qualitative analysis of Alexandrine Greek text, which Paul used to write his epistles, as well as archaeological evidence, points out Paul’s usage of many athletic/sport related references (words) in spreading his evangelical message. In the arena of Christian spiritual contests, Paul was an exceptional Isthmian “athlete”.
Αγγελάτος, Μ. “Το Αρχαίο Αθλητικό Ιδεώδες κσι η Αθλητική Γλώσσα του Αποστόλου Παύλου,” http://www.gec.gr/astir/joul2004.htm.
Andreasen, A. Marketing Social ChangeSan Francisco, Jossey Bass Publishers, 1995.
Broneer, Oscar. “Paul and Pagan Cults at Isthmia,” Harvard Theological Review, 6 169-187, 1971.
Buck, Charles and Greer Taylor, Saint Paul: A Study in the Development of his Thought, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1969.
Drane, John. An Introduction to the Bible, Lion, 1990.
Gebhard, E. R. and M.W. Dickie, Melikertes-Palaimon: Hero of the Isthmian Games, Excavations,
University of Chicago, http://lucian.uchicago.edu/blogs/isthmia/publications/melikertes-palaimon-hero/melikertes-palaimon-footnotes/
Γιαλούρης, Ν. Ολυμπία, Athens, 1991.
Grossan, John D. and Jonathan L. Reed, In Search of Paul, Harper Collins Publishers, New York, 2004, pp. 278 – 279.
English Dictionary, Harper Collins, 2003.
Excavations at Isthmia, Ohio State University http://isthmia.osu.edu/sanctuar.html
Η Καινή Διαθήκη: Πρωτότυπο Κείμενο, Βιβλική Εταιρία, Athens, 1985.
Hadjifoti, Litsa. Saint Paul: His Journey through Greece, Cyprus, Asia Minor and Rome, Editions M. Toubis S. A., Athens, 2004
Harris, H. A., Greek Athletes and Athletics, Greenwood Press, 1979.
Herodotus, The Histories, translation by Robin Waterfield, Oxford University Press, 1998
Inscriptions Graecae, IV, No. 203.
Jaeger, W. Paideia: The Ideals of Greek Culture, Oxford University Press, 1945.
Kotynski, Edward J. The Athletics of the Ancient Olympics, 2006.
Meinardus, Otto F. A., St. Paul in Greece, Lycabettus Press, Athens, 1972.
Mavromataki, Maria. Paul the Apostle of the Gentiles: Journeys in Greece, Published by Haitalis, Athens, 2003.
Pausanias, Description of Greece 8.48.2, Volume III Books 6 – 8, translated by W. H. S. Jones, 1935
Pollock, John. The Apostle: A Life of Paul, Chariot Victor Publishing: Book Communications, Ontario, 1966.
Plutarch, Parallel Lives: Loeb Classical Library Edition, 1921, Πλούταρχος – Φλαμινίνος Χ, ΧΙ Plutarch – Life of Solon 23.3.
Solinus, Gaius Julius, Wonders of the World 7.14.
Strabo, Geography, 3 volumes, translated by H.C. Hamilton, ed. H. G. Bohn, 1854-1857.
Τα Ιερά Γράμματα – Των Θείων Αρχετύπων, London, 1955.
The American Heritage Dictionary, New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1969.
The Countdown: Διώριγα Κορίνθου http://aedik.gr/frontend/articles.php?cid=44&scid=59
The Holy Bible, King James Version, World Publishing Company, New York 1959.
The International Olympic Committee, Olympic Charter: Lausanne, Switzerland, 2011.
Waterfield, Robin. Herodotus: The Histories (translation). Oxford University Press, 1998.
Webb, Eugene, World View and Mind, University of Missouri Press, Columbia, 2009, pp. 208 - 209.
Wilson, A. N. Paul: The Mind of the Apostle, New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1997.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).