The Conversation Shifts

Since 1977 there has been a regular conversation among those who study the New Testament, especially those studying the theology of the apostle Paul. In 1977 E.P. Sanders published his magisterial Paul and Palestinian Judaism and unleashed forces at work (from G.F. Moore to K. Stendahl) to form what my own professor, James D.G. Dunn, called [Read More...]

What Saint Paul Really Said about Slavery

What we often want Paul to be saying in Philemon, namely set the man free and emancipate him and make a statement about the church and slavery for all the ages, is not enough to cover what Paul was doing. Sarah Ruden, in Paul among the People, looks at slavery and at the same time takes [Read More...]

Subject to Governing Authorities — Paul Again

Those famous words of Paul’s in Romans 13 have not only irritated some to the core of their being (think apartheid) but they have been used by some to sanction most any authority’s moves. Divinely sanctioned authority can run wild, and it has in the church.  The text was a favorite of those who were [Read More...]

Paul and the End of Fun?

There are not a few proposals of what the apostle Paul was all about. From Augustine to Luther and Calvin Paul became increasingly a systematic theologian and it is not unfair to this tradition to say Paul was a soteriologian. That is, Paul was a fundamentally a theologian of (personal) salvation. So everything about Paul [Read More...]

Paul’s Missional Theology (acc. to NT Wright)

So what were Paul’s aims? What was he doing? What did he think he was doing? (Paul and the Faithfulness of God) To see Paul as the philosopher who provided the ideological validation for the worldwide rule of Jesus would hardly capture the whole of his thought, but it would possess more than a grain [Read More...]

How Paul Read the Bible

Among those who study the apostle Paul there is a subterranean turbulent storm that many reading the surface do not see. The turbulence is stirred by how Paul reads the Bible, or to be more accurate, how the Jewish apostle Paul “hermeneuts” Israel’s scriptures — our Old Testament. N.T. Wright, in Paul and the Faithfulness [Read More...]

Was Paul Converted? NT Wright on the “Conversion” of Paul

The standard reading of the apostle Paul’s life is the story of conversion, and at work in that story is religion and hence of Paul “finding religion” or “leaving religion for faith.” In the altogether exciting 15th chp of NT Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God, Wright pitches his tent in a way that he gets [Read More...]

Paul Takes on the Philosophers (acc to NT Wright)

What did Paul say to folks on the Areopagus? What would Paul have said to a philosopher like Seneca? NT Wright, in chp 14 of Paul and the Faithfulness of God, ponders precisely these sorts of questions and it makes for engaging reading. When we ask, as we must in this chapter, how the Paul we [Read More...]

Paul and Religion

So many today love to contrast Jesus (and therefore themselves) with “religion” and “religion” is always bad and institutional and ritualistic while Jesus (and probably Paul, too) was not … but that means those who do this will be surprised when they read chp 13 of Wright’s massive study of Paul. One of the more [Read More...]

Empire Criticism and NT Wright

This is a repost on NT Wright, Paul and the Faithfulness of God, but I do so because I have now come to chapter 12 in our months-long series on Wright’s monster volume(s). So, here it is again: a look at what NT Wright says now about empire criticism. Empire and the Echo Chamber IBR [Read More...]