Coping with Prejudice
1 Peter in Social - Psychological Perspective
Qeteb & Reshef in the Hebrew Bible
Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament, No. 244
By Paul A. Holloway
Distributed by Coronet Books
Modern social psychology has devoted a significant share of its resources to the study of human prejudice. Most research to date has focused on those groups that exhibit prejudice. However, a number of recent studies have begun to investigate prejudice from the perspective of its "targets." These studies have shown prejudice to be a powerful stressor that places unique and costly demands on its targets. They have also identified a number of strategies that targets of prejudice use to cope with their predicaments.
These findings hold real promise for scholars of early Christianity, for not only were early Christians frequently the targets of religious prejudice - they were to become its perpetrators soon enough! - but much of what they wrote sought either directly or indirectly to address this problem. In this study, Paul A. Holloway applies the findings of social psychology to the early Christian pseudepigraphon known as 1 Peter. He argues that 1 Peter marks one of the earliest attempts by a Christian author to craft a more or less comprehensive response to anti-Christian prejudice and its outcomes. Unlike later Apologists, however, who also wrote in response to anti-Christian prejudice, the author of 1 Peter does not seek to influence directly the thoughts and actions of those hostile to Christianity, but writes instead for his beleaguered coreligionists, consoling them in their suffering and advising them on how to cope with popular prejudice and the persecution it engendered.
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