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Religious and Philosophical Conversion in Paul and John

This paper explores the affinities in the theology and ethics of Paul and John as reflections of a conversionist type of religion. It is noteworthy that both authors focus more than any other NT writer on the transformation which converts experienced through their turning to faith in Christ and baptism. Therefore, they use thought patterns, motives and rhetoric which occur not only in the OT but also in other ancient Mediterranean philosophical traditions that adopted the idea that man can change through a kind of Paideia. Similarly, recent research shows that the Pauline and Johannine communities had striking similarities to Hellenistic philosophical schools. Therefore, this paper analyses the Pauline and Johannine notions of conversion as amalgams of Jewish-biblical and Hellenistic-philosophical elements regarding the transformation of man by following a particular way of life and entering a religious community or philosophical school.