Christ the Ideal King: Cultural Context, Rhetorical Strategy, and the Power of Divine Monarchy in Ephesians. By Julien Smith. WUNT II/313. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2011. Pp. v + 316. Paper, €79.00.
Article first published online: 7 MAR 2013
© 2013 Rice University
Religious Studies Review
Volume 39, Issue 1, pages 39–40, March 2013
How to Cite
Halcomb, T. M. W. (2013), Christ the Ideal King: Cultural Context, Rhetorical Strategy, and the Power of Divine Monarchy in Ephesians. By Julien Smith. WUNT II/313. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2011. Pp. v + 316. Paper, €79.00. Religious Studies Review, 39: 39–40. doi: 10.1111/rsr.12012_19
- Issue published online: 7 MAR 2013
- Article first published online: 7 MAR 2013
Smith contends that, in Greco-Roman and Jewish antiquity, “[t]he ideal king was commonly thought of as imitating divine virtue, and thus providing the example for his subjects to follow.” At the same time, he maintains that in Ephesians, Jesus the Christ is purposefully portrayed as an “ideal king.” Throughout, many of Smith's arguments are compelling. His broad survey of ancient literature and attentiveness to christological issues will be appreciated by all readers. This work will also likely raise a number of questions. For example, Smith's notion that Jesus is a vice-regent who fills in for God-at-a-distance makes sense, yet it also causes one to ask: Why did God need a vice-regent at all? Why did God not enact the transformation from vice to virtue in humans himself? Also, one wonders if Smith's “paraphrastic summary” in chapter 5, which for dramatic effect replaces all uses of Christos in Ephesians with “king,” is at all legitimate or even helpful. Excepting about a half-dozen typos, this book is well written and worth the read. I highly recommend this provocative volume to students, scholars, and libraries alike.