Paul the Apostle, His Life Letters and Thought– Part Twenty


p. 325– The key words in Paul’s third argument about idol meat etc is in 10.16-22 and the key terms are participation, and participants, the former is koinonia (10.16 twice) in the Greek the latter koinonoi (10.18,20) And the word ‘one’ plays a role. Paul is drawing on Deut. 32.17 (‘they sacrificed to demons and not to God) table of the Lord (drawing on Mal. 1.7.12) not the table of demons (Is. 65.11) and provoking the Lord to jealousy (Deut. 32.21).

p. 326—“In this case Paul quotes a text that denounces idols but does not include the word ‘idol’ in the quotation. He is clearly writing at the level of Jewish experts who would have known that Deut. 32.21 said that idols provoked and exasperated God.” Sanders in n. 17 qualifies by saying he is not comparing Paul to the rabbis, but to other learned Jews like Philo and Josephus who were not rabbis but carried the text around in their head.

p. 327— shows that keyword connection ‘demon’ leads from Deut. 32.17 to Is. 65.11 and table in Is. 65 leads to Malachi’s table of the Lord’. This is mental associations of key words and phrases in Paul’s brain. Not use of a concordance. The phrase ‘provoke to jealousy’ is in an idolatry text, but Paul doesn’t mention the last fact.

p. 328—“Even if Paul had taught his converts to study the Bible, and even if the Church had bought the twenty two or so scrolls, the task of turning through them all, looking for two-word or three-word phrases, would have taken more time than they could give to it. This is what I mean by ‘writing at his own level.’” And of course he can’t cite chapter and verse as there weren’t any, and he rarely gives the name of the Biblical book either.

p. 329—Paul is arguing that union with Christ through the sacraments of baptism and L.S. rules out participation and union with demons and their meals “What we see in these passages (on prostitution and idolatry) is that Paul was developing an appreciation for the power of the argument that Christians are one person with Christ and participate in him through baptism and the Lord’s Supper. These two Christian rites were taking on mystical or sacramental meaning” See 1 Cor. 12.13.

p. 330– Paul then makes a concession in 10.23-30, its o.k. to eat idol meat at home or in someone else’s home, it is just meat, but if the host says it came from the temple, then avoid it for the sake of the pagan’s conscience, the rule is give no offense to Jews or Greeks where you can avoid it. The meal at the pagan house seems to assume both weak and strong Christians are there and you don’t want to cause the scrupulous to stumble or mislead the pagan host. Note the 3 fold division of community— Jew, Greek, and Church of God, with the latter not being a subheading under either. 10.29b-30 Sanders finds puzzling, it may be Paul’s rebuttal to the overly scrupulous wanting to maintain his freedom to a degree. [or he may be quoting the strong again…. And qualifying their freedom].

p. 333—“Thus Paul does not insist that his converts be a completely segregated sect. They could occasionally eat red meat, and they could socialize outside the small Christian circle. He does not mention parades, or games, two of the other main aspects of pagan festivals, but presumably his converts could participate. Similarly, he says nothing at all about attending events [other than not dining in pagan temples] at which there was a token gesture to the gods, such as plays, meeting of the city council, and gathering so the populace. Jews generally accepted these aspects of the pagan world without protest (though I assume without approval either), and so they did not alarm Paul in the way that attending pagan temples did.”

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