Kingdom, Not Kingly Rule: Assessing the Kingdom of God as Sacred Space

In: Biblical Interpretation
Karen J. Wenell University of Birmingham, UK

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Arguing that Gustaf Dalman’s definition of βασιλεία as ‘kingly rule’ has severely limited possibilities in biblical scholarship for appreciation of the kingdom as space, this article interacts with key insights into the human relationship with sacred space in order to gain a deeper understanding of the significance of the kingdom of God. Rather than restricting meaning by limiting space to that which is physical and concrete, the discussion seeks to open up the meaning of the kingdom as a community space, connected to the divine, and spoken of as having a boundary and a specific point of entry; a space with both universal and particular aspects; and a space which draws on the expectation of a new world. All of these aspects of the kingdom illustrate the contours of a relationship among God-people-space that is performative and constantly in motion.

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