Paul: In Fresh Perspective

Paul: In Fresh Perspective

Paul: In Fresh Perspective

Paul: In Fresh Perspective

Excerpt

It would be an understatement to say that I was grateful for the honour of being invited to give the Hulsean Lectures in Cambridge University. It brought me back to the city and university where my family and I spent three happy years a quarter of a century ago. It allowed me to place my small feet in the large shoes of two of my most distinguished predecessors in my present job, J. B. Lightfoot and B. F. Westcott, from a century and a quarter ago. And, to my surprise, it also allowed me to follow in the footsteps of my greatgreat-great-grandfather, Temple Chevallier, who as a fellow of Pembroke College gave the Hulsean Lectures in 1826 and 1827 before going to Durham in 1835 as Professor of Mathematics and Astronomy and Registrar of the newly established university. He stayed there until his death in 1873, becoming famous among other things for carving a notch in the crenellation of the cloister so that the sun could strike the sundial properly in mid-winter, and for using a telescope, out of the window of the Canon's house he latterly occupied, to observe the behaviour of the Durham rooks. It occurs to me that there may be some who conclude, reading this book, that I have taken up something of his quirky, not to say skittish, habits in following my own particular interests in the study of St Paul. But, now as then, it is, I think, a time for exploration and delighted innovation rather than simply for filling in the paradigms left by our predecessors.

My aim in these lectures (now turned into chapters with a minimum of extra editing and new material) was in fact to let in some new shafts of light on Paul, even if that meant carving a notch through some of the traditional ways of studying him, and to observe closely now he goes about certain tasks, even if that meant employing for the purpose the hermeneutical equivalents of new telescopes. I do not pretend that I shall say everything there is to say in a mere eight chapters, nor that they will be balanced in their coverage of relevant issues. I am developing further in this work some of the themes I began to explore in What St Paul Really Said, though mostly from different angles; and behind it all stand, on the one hand, my earlier . . .

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