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"For the Sake of Holiness: Saint Paul's Call to Imitation of Christ and Non-Conformity to the World"

Francisco Maria G. Machado (Portugal)

Licentiate in Sacred Theology with field of specialization in Biblical Theology.
Adviser: Sr. Bernardita Dianzon, F.S.P., S.T.D., Ph.D.


Motivated by the importance of doing theology in a manner that helps people not only to learn about God theoretically but also, in praxis, to allow themselves to be transformed by God, this tesina explores some of the ways in which the Bible, and especially the undisputed letters of Saint Paul, present the meaning of holiness and the path leading to it. It begins by arguing that the Bible’s fundamental purpose is to communicate to us God’s will that we be holy. This is called a “theo-ethical guiding impetus,” and the researcher argues that Paul’s letters are essentially an expression of this task of promoting concrete holiness in Christian life. The study proposes that one important way by which Paul describes holiness, summoning believers to it in the process, is by persuading them to imitate Christ and to reject the lure to conform to the world. It attempts to delve deeper into the passages where Paul speaks of “imitation” (1 Thess 1:6; 1 Thess 2:14; 1 Cor 4:16; 1 Cor 11:1; Phil 3:17; plus several other passages where the notion appears indirectly), then relates the result of such investigation with Paul’s call to non-conformity to the world in Rm 12:1-2, thus presenting a challenging picture of what Christians are concretely called to. To sum, the study endeavors to offer a Pauline answer to the questions: What is holiness? How can we become holy?.

Final Defense:

Date of Oral Defense: March 24, 2017

Board of Examiners: Fr. Renato Repole, S.J., S.T.D. (Principal Examiner), Sr. Bernardita Dianzon, F.S.P., S.T.D., Ph.D., and Fr. Stefano Young-hoon Kim, S.J., S.T.D.

Proposal Defense:

October 28, 2016 (Friday). 9:00 am, Tipanan ni San Ignacio, 2nd Floor Loyola School of Theology

Board of Examiners: Sr. Bernardita Dianzon, F.S.P., S.T.D., Ph.D. (Adviser), Fr. Renato Repole, S.J., S.T.D., and Fr. Stefano Kim Young-hoon, S.J., S.T.D.

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