Filled with the Spirit: Wine and worship in levitical light (Ephesians 5.18-21)
This essay argues that the background of the temple, and particular priestly and levitical activities, explain the logic of Eph. 5.18-21. After setting this text in context and addressing various proposed backgrounds, the proposal of this essay is initially examined in relation to the imperative to be filled in 5.18, which I argue is a dative of content. After seeing how this fits within the temple themes of the letter, the immediate context is explored to show how similar motifs continue to emerge. In particular, the prohibition of drunkenness is seen in relation to the desire for priests to abstain from alcohol while serving in the temple. The worship that ensues in the first four participles (5.19-20) that are dependent on the imperative to be "filled" (5.18) are similarly seen to be inspired by priestly and levitical actions, since singing was primarily relegated to the temple setting and to a particular levitical office within the cult. This is then finally situated in relation to the subsequent Haustafel, which is also grammatically subordinated to the imperative in 5.18. The Haustafel contributes to this scene by highlighting how, in the domestic context of early Christian house churches, the gathering was believed to be sacred space in which the church was a temple made of priests who were filled with the Spirit and praised God. In such corporate settings of worship, drunkenness is not to be permitted.
Biblica et Patristica Thoruniensia
Dunne, John Anthony, "Filled with the Spirit: Wine and worship in levitical light (Ephesians 5.18-21)" (2018). Seminary Faculty Publications. 13.