Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God– Part Eighty Six

There is something to be said for the argument (see pp. 1378-79) that in Rom. 7.13-25 Paul is framing his discussion with one eye on what the pagan moralists said about the ethical dilemma of knowing better but not doing better. Aristotle, Nic. Ethics 7; Ovid, Met. 7.20f “I see the better and I approve it, but I follow the worse.’ This is not because, contra Tom’s exposition on those pages, this has anything to do with the Jew under… Read more

Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God– Part Eighty Five

Physics, logic, ethics. What was the connection in ancient philosophy, and how did Paul respond to it? Tom provides us with a very helpful summary on p. 1371– “They believed that once one had discovered and understood (‘logic’) what the world was, how it worked and what human beings actually were (‘physics’), it was the task of humans to live in accordance with that, rather than against its grain (‘ethics’). Paul believed the world had been renewed in the Messiah,… Read more

Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God– Part Eighty Four

Chapter 14 is to be paired with Chapter 3, only this time we are bringing together Paul and the philosophers, and doing some comparing and contrasting. The central three chapters of exposition of Paul’s thought is assumed and drawn on here. To begin with Tom sets out the usual three categories into which ancient philosophy fell— physics (under which heading things like cosmology and theology fell– see below), ethics, and logic. Paul in fact draws on some form of these… Read more

Why it Took 40 years to get into the Promised Land

The evidence is ancient and crinkled, as you can see above, but it is conclusive and now we know it wasn’t sin, it was those darn toll booths that slowed down the Israelites, toll booths like the one Levi later manned. Read more

Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God– Part Eighty Three

Chapter Thirteen is valuable not least because Tom establishes beyond reasonable doubt, that Paul when it talking about the sacraments, prayer and in general Christian praxis does have one eye on how his Gentile converts would have thought about ‘religio’. Despite modern Protestant polemics, Paul is not anti-religion, indeed he is arguing that the Jesus movement is a form of religion that binds people together into a community centered on the worship of a deity, and sharing in the life… Read more

Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God– Part Eighty Two

In his positive proposal (beginning p. 1332), Tom wants to argue that while Christians did not have literal priests, temples, or sacrifices, “if religion in the ancient world was the system of signs including myths and rites by which people were bound together as a civic unity in which both gods and humans shared, then there is clear evidence that Paul saw the common life of those in Christ as precisely that, a united community, whose politeuma was in heavenly… Read more

Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God— Part Eighty One

Chapter Thirteen of this opus is meant to be paired with Chapter 4, and the discussion of ‘religio’ in the Greco-Roman world. Now however the focus is on the intersection of Paul with that world, and not just a context description. There has been something of an allergic reaction in contemporary culture to the word religion. You even see bumper stickers these days which read ‘I’m spiritual, not religious’. There is of course a long history in Protestantism of tarring… Read more

CSNY 1974– a Blast from the Past

There are many reasons to be upset with the current state of popular music, not the least of which is that mp3s strip the source music of much of its inherent quality, but an even better reason to do so is that buying individual songs purely because you like the ‘sound’ of the tune, is an act of disembodiment. It strips the music of its human context, and often of its lyrical content as well. Ear candy is one thing,… Read more


It might be thought that after the hugely successful Harry Potter novels, J.K. Rowling would be content to rest on her laurels (not to mention her millions), and put the pen back in the ink well for a while. Not a bit of it! She has now assumed a nom de plume of Robert Galbraith, and is writing whodunnits, or murder mysteries, or crime thrillers, call them what you will. Thus far, two books have come out in this series—-… Read more

Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God– Part Eighty

The remainder of Chapter Twelve (pp. 1300-1319) is in the main devoted to a rebuttal to John Barclay’s critique of Tom’s reading of Paul’s ‘anti-imperial’ rhetoric. There are some significant qualifications along the way, for example, whatever critique Paul would have offered of Roman paganism and the Emperor cult, it is simply a part of the wider and broader critique Jews had always been offering in regard to paganism and polytheism. Just so. The question then becomes whether Paul was… Read more

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