The Blackwell Companion to Paul

The Blackwell Companion to Paul

The Blackwell Companion to Paul

The Blackwell Companion to Paul

Synopsis

The Blackwell Companion to Paul presents a distinctive dual focus approach that encompasses both the historical Paul and the history of Paul's influence. In doing so, expert contributors successfully address the interests of students of early Christianity and those of Christian theology.
  • Offers a complete overview of the life, writings and legacy of one of the key figures of Christianity
  • The essays compass the major themes of Paul's life and work, as well as his impact through the centuries on theology, Church teaching, social beliefs, art, literature, and contemporary intellectual thought
  • Edited by one of the leading figures in the field of Pauline Studies
  • The contributors include a range of world-renowned academics

Excerpt

Paul’s primary readership is not scholarly, but among scholars he is read primarily by students of the New Testament and early Christianity, on the one hand, and of Christian theology, on the other. The Blackwell Companion to Paul is designed to address the interests of both and to facilitate their mutual conversation.

That students of the New Testament and of Christian theology are talking to each other is something of a recent development. Any suggestion that they should do so would have made no sense in the premodern era and been programmatically opposed in the centuries that followed. In the earlier period, Paul’s writings were characteristically read as a vehicle of divine communication to humankind. Those who sought answers to life’s most fundamental questions turned to Paul (and to the other writers of Scripture) to find them, and those who read Paul’s letters (and the other writings of Scripture) did so assured that what they encountered there was true and foundational. Theology (in other words) meant interpreting Scripture, and Scripture was interpreted theologically. Not until the tasks were conceived of as distinct enterprises, assigned to different practitioners, could “mutual conversation” even be contemplated.

The very conditions that made such conversation possible were such as to make it unpalatable. In many ways, Spinoza set the agenda for the modern academic study of the Bible (Spinoza 1951; Latin original 1670). To read the Bible properly (it is held), one must approach the text without any of the biases of faith: to assume that its contents were divinely revealed, and hence coherent and true, is to prejudice one’s understanding of the text from the outset (Spinoza 1951, 8, 99–100). The goal of biblical interpretation must be to determine the meaning rather than the truth of the text (Spinoza 1951, 101; the distinction was unthinkable earlier) as well as the (natural, not supernatural) processes that led to its composition. In short, the Bible should be . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.