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Elpis in the Letters to the Collossians and to the Ephesians

Catholic Faculty of Theology, J. J. Strossmayer University of Osijek; [email protected]
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The NT concept of hope is essentially determined by the OT' Among different words for expressing the reality of biblical hope, elpis and elpiso are of the greatest importance. After describing the Greek view of the two mentioned words, the article first considers their role and their meaning in the OT - emphasizing the fact that in the OT there is no neutral concept of expectation. An expectation is either good or bad and therefore it is either hope or fear. God's promise(s) and covenant(s) with Israel is assumed to be the ground and object of man's expectation. NT gives a new content to the concept of hope. God is the ultimate author and ground of elpis and elpiso. His promise to the fathers is fulfilled in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He is, through the action of the Holy Spirit, the sustaining power and the unseen yet certain object of every hope. From this background originates the understanding of hope in the letters to the Colossians and to the Ephesians. A detailed textual analysis of all "elpis and elpiso verses" in the two mentioned letters offers a comprehensive insight into the two of the deuteropauline texts. In both letters, with some minor differences, the risen Christ 'seated at the right hand of God" (Col 3,3) is the object of elpis. This hope is "laid up for you in heaven" (Col 1,5). God makes it known through the Gospel which becomes a sign and a mediator of hope. Because of this the hope is called the elpis tou euangeliou. The community was called to the one hope that belongs to the christian call (cf. Eph 4,4).

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