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Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Conversation Trajectory

Unity and Diversity in Christ: Interpreting Paul in Context: Collected Essays,
Willian S. Campbell, Cascade Books, 2013, page 1

Publishing a series of articles covering twenty years of research around Paul's Jewish roots, diversity in the early church and identity formation, William S. Campbell makes an interesting comment about the book of Romans:

... my long term interest in the letter to the Romans, especially its historical context, and on the particularity of Paul's statements in his letters as made in, and directed to, a specific set of circumstances.

Can you see where he is going with this thought?

These statements are virtualy unique and non-recurring and must not be universalised or generalised. (Footnote: Even when Paul repeats the same words in different letter contexts, the meaning of his statements must be sought separately in relation to their place in the argument and within the context of each letter, rather than attempting to harmonise these into something that Paul did not actually say.)

So we have to read the letters individually then, not making too much of parallel word and themes?

To read Romans in the light of the Galatians context, or vice versa, is to create an artificial and unwarranted "Paulinism" that is a product of scholarly invention rather than of historical existence.

That sounds like a wake-up call for some!

Similarly, it is my contention that we must oppose the tendency to harmonise and correlate Paul's particular statements into some system of theology to which the apostle neither adhered nor even aspired.

Posted By Jonathan, 9:09am Comment Comments: 1

Wednesday, 2 December 2015
Comment -

Is this, perchance, the worst form of post-modern mosaic thinking I have ever come across in theology? It denigrates arguably the foremost scholar of the first century and refuses to acknowledge the consistency of vision and thinking that has given him such high stature throughout the "Christian" centuries. Furthermore, it terminates any attempt in our day to see Paul as being consistent throughout his writings with the narrative of the Tanach and much of Second Temple Rabbinic theology, all the while ministering, as he does, in the variety of localities to a mixed Jewish and Gentile expression of "church". To completely atomise St Paul's letters so as to preclude any consistency of thought is to leave wide-open to any future scholar (and probably the writer wants this) the possibility of himself imposing onto Paul whatever he/she might think and getting his PhD out of the resulting rubbish.

Posted By Timothy Butlin 12:28pm