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

tom1

Just as the belief that there is only one God was central to early Judaism, so for Paul the reformulation of what that belief meant is central to Pauline theology, and Wright is prepared to explain why. When the major symbolic praxis of the Jewish worldview (circumcision, food laws,sabbath-keeping) had been deemed 'adiaphora'...then theology and particularly monotheism needed to take on far more of the load in sustaining the worldview in its radically new form." (p. 625). The key to … [Read more...]

C.K. Barrett— A Helpful Blog Post

durh

The following is a blog post of Jonathan Watson of the Logos company, reprinted her with permission.C. K. Barrett: The Consummate Academic in the British TraditionWhen I began my journey into theological territory, one name kept popping up among friends and acquaintances who take the study of Scripture seriously. I asked questions about this person and his work, and eventually purchased several volumes of his writings, including his commentary on the book of Romans—a resource which h … [Read more...]

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

tom1

The second massive volume (910 pages of text and notes, never mind voluminous bibliography) focuses on Pauline theology proper, and Paul's Aims and Intentions. Tom stakes out his turf in the Introduction. The way he will approach the task is based on the following basic assumptions (which proves that Wright completely rejects the form critical approach to the text): 1) he assumes the Pauline letter has an inner logic and a central concern, and 2) "I take it as axiomatic on the contrary that … [Read more...]

Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God– Part Twenty One

tom1

The last chapter in volume one of Paul and the Faithfulness of God, reviews for us Tom's answers on the who, what, when, where, why etc. questions (pp. 538-69). On the 'who' question it will be noted that Tom is perfectly comfortable in saying that Paul could call any and all Christians 'the Jew' as well as 'the seed of Abraham' and 'Israel'. The middle of these three terms is clear enough, the other two controversial. Tom has to concede that this doesn't quite work with the use of Israel in … [Read more...]

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

tom1

The discussion between p. 500 and the end of the chapter at p. 537 present us with some of the most critical and also controversial elements in Wright's analysis. We need to bear in mind that Wright is hear talking about worldview, and stories that are part of the worldview, that which lies beneath and undergirds the theologizing. For example, Deut. 27-30, which is so fundamental to Wright's argument is treated as something of a long range prophecy, not merely a narrative account, revealing … [Read more...]

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

tom1

More on track is the discussion of the praxis of the Lord's Supper, and to a lesser degree Baptism. I agree that these symbolic rites encode a good deal of the Gospel message deliberately, and they reinforce the message. They do indeed help form world view and ethos. The trick is to neither say too much or too little about the 'sacraments' and Paul. On the one hand, Paul is prepared to say 'I thank God I did not baptize more of you Corinthians' (-- thereby proving he was no modern Baptist--- 1 … [Read more...]

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

tom1

Under the heading of the large plot about God and creation does come the theme which crops up some seven times in Paul's letter--- the Dominion of God, or God retaking back his creation from the powers of darkness. In other words, God is not just interested in saving humans, he's interested in the renewal of his whole creation (see Rom. 8). Thus Wright stresses that the larger outer story about God and creation is a story about judgment (p. 481). Judgment is to be seen as a positive thing. … [Read more...]

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

tom1

In Chapter Seven, Tom takes on the pushback against narratival analysis of Paul's letters. He does so not just because he knows that human beings make sense of what happens to them by telling stories, but because Bultmann was wrong. "The main problem with Bultmann's [demythologizing] proposal, in addition to the muddling of the different senses of 'myth' [which does not necessarily refer to a fictional story], is that when he insisted that we should strip the early Christian world of its … [Read more...]

Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God— Part Sixteen

tom1

Wright explores what Schweitzer was perhaps the first to call the mysticism of Paul. He does so in the larger context of early Jewish mysticism which focused on "penetration of the secrets of creation and cosmology on the one hand and gazing on the vision of the God enthroned on his chariot (as in Ezek. 1) on the other" (p. 415). Only now when Paul 'sees' God he has the face of Jesus, indeed he sees the glory of God in the face of Jesus (2 Cor. 4.4-- I suspect this is an allusion to what he saw … [Read more...]


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