Paul the Apostle, His Life, Letters and Thought— Part Twelve

p. 175--- The M.O. for each following chapter will be: 1) explain the form of the letter; 2) reconstruct the sequence of events which led up to the letter; 3) identify the presuppositions of the letter; 4) listing Paul’s standard views and presuppositions which will let the individuality of each letter stand out.p. 176--- all Paul’s letters have the same basic parts except Galatians which is missing the thanksgiving: 1) addressor and colleagues and addressees; 2) opening benediction; 3) tha … [Read more...]

Paul the Apostle, His Life, Letters and Thought— Part Eleven

pp. 158-59 Bewildering is his suggestion that Paul visited south Galatia with Barnabas in the late 30s, but did not found a congregation there, but rather in north Galatia.pp. 160-61—he offers a range of dates and says we can’t be precise. And he says what matters more is the order of the letters, rather than the dates, with 1 Thess. first up to bat.pp. 163-65--- Sanders reminds that he is reading Paul as a historian and for historical purposes, and while he is fine with other sorts … [Read more...]

Paul the Apostle, His Life, Letters and Thought— Part Ten

p. 147-- In Sanders view, only 7 of Paul’s original letters have survived, mainly because they were copied so many times. They probably survived because an individual who housed a church kept it and perhaps had it recopied. He thinks that the reference of the seven letters to seven churches in Rev. 2-3 reflects the influence of the publication of Paul’s letters, because apocalypses don’t normally include letters. Further, Ignatius which knows Paul’s letters also writes seven letters to seven … [Read more...]

Paul the Apostle, His Life, Letters and Thought— Part Nine

p. 125 Chapter 3 is entitled Travel, Letters, People, Moneypp. 125—30--- While traveling was arduous Paul managed it despite multiple shipwrecks. He probably used a pack animal to carry supplies, tools of the trade, luggage, when going on foot, covering from 12-15 miles a day, unlike soldiers who could cover 30. It is 200 miles from Ephesus to Philippi, another 250 by land from Philippi to Corinth. From Syrian Antioch to Troas is 900 miles or 60-75 days of walking, so 80-99 days from A … [Read more...]

Paul the Apostle, His Life, Letters and Thought— Part Eight

p. 117—The principle difficulty Paul faced was exclusivism, getting pagans not merely to add another god to their pantheon, but reject all their past gods in favor of the God of Israel. But remember, Paul only converted a small percentage of Gentiles in a given town and it would be another century before paganism saw Christianity as a rival.p. 118—the summary in 1 Thess. 1.9-10 shows Paul’s early message which involved the death, resurrection, lordship, return of Jesus. Sanders says this … [Read more...]

Paul the Apostle, His Life, Letters and Thought— Part Seven

p. 107-- Acts and Romans agree about the results, namely Paul really only succeeded among the Gentiles. There is virtually no trace of any Jews in Paul’s letters who are his own converts (Timothy?). [Really? How does one account for the detailed use of the LXX, for example in Rom. 9-11 in his letters if there were few if any Jews in his congregations to help the audience understand those Scriptures?].p. 109-- He makes the astounding claim that in none of Paul’s letters prior to Romans doe … [Read more...]

Paul the Apostle, His Life, Letters and Thought— Part Six

Sanders gives a detailed analysis of the three conversion stories in Acts on pp. 94-97 and argues that what accounts for Luke’s insistence of Paul doing things in Jerusalem soon after his conversion is Luke’s Jerusalem-centric character of Luke-Acts. [This argument however doesn’t work very well for Acts since in Acts the orientation is from Jerusalem to the world.] Sanders may be partially right that the reason Luke says the Jews were after Paul in Damascus rather than Aretas is because the … [Read more...]

Paul, The Apostle’s Life, Letters and Thought Part Five

Chapter Two: Paul the Apostle to the Gentilesp. 87--- He deduces that Paul was converted in Damascus because Paul says he returned to Damascus in Gal. 1. [This does not follow, but it reflects a pattern of lack of confidence by Sanders in the accounts about Paul in the early chapters of Acts.]p. 88--- Sanders says Lightfoot is my favorite of the older commentators on Paul, but he and Burton work with a romantic assumption that Paul worked out the theology of Romans before he began his … [Read more...]

Quote of the Day— from E. P. Sanders

In course of reading through Sanders huge new book on Paul, I came across a saying Sanders learned when he was eight (p. 666) see what you think---There's enough good in the worst of us And enough bad in the best of us That it doesn't behoove any of us To talk about the rest of us. … [Read more...]