Annoying Apostle Paul

When our children were teenagers they would sometimes say someone was “annoying.” When we probed for a little details it was often not forthcoming. It was an existentialist response one person to another, a response in which one person and the other person were unable to dwell in peace. Many respond to the apostle Paul [Read More…]

Justification is about Unification

So says James Thompson in The Church according to Paul: Rediscovering the Community Conformed to Christ. That is to say, justification transcends personal standing before God and speaks to the unification of Jews and Gentiles, slaves and free, males and females, and barbarians and Scythians in the one Body of Christ, the church. Thompson begins with a [Read More…]

Reclaiming our Jewishness

In his essay on the “Three Paths to Salvation of Paul the Jews,” in Paul the Jew, Gabriele Boccaccini contends the Lutheran Paul was successfully challenged by the new perspective but the new perspective did not escape the charge of supersessionism, and so in its place he proposes a Radical New Perspective. Here are his [Read More…]

EP Sanders on Paul the Convert

There is a debate among Paul scholars about whether or not Paul was a convert, and to that debate is one attached to whether Paul had a conversion or a call — did he convert to Christ or did he convert to the Gentile mission? E.P. Sanders, in his recent Paul: The Apostle’s Life, Letters, and [Read More…]

Paul the Immigrant

The apostle Paul was an immigrant, at least if we go with the earliest Christian traditions. His family moved from their nativeland, Galilee, to Tarsus, a major city in Asia Minor. He was a Jew surrounded by Gentiles, and hence lived a life in the diaspora of that time. We are looking at E.P. Sanders’ [Read More…]

The New Perspective is Now Complete

In 1977 E.P. Sanders wrote Paul and Palestinian Judaism and unleashed what, in the expression originally of N.T. Wright and then more forcefully J.D.G. Dunn, is called “the new perspective.” Sanders, however, put far more pressure on how we understand Judaism than how we understand either Jesus (he did write Jesus and Judaism) or Paul (only a [Read More…]

Paul in His Real World

The apostle Paul has been mined mostly for his theology — from Augustine to Luther and Calvin to Bultmann and Barth on into the modern works of folks like Jimmy Dunn and NT Wright. Mostly it is his theology they are after. Others have turned it more neutrally toward religion — and here we think [Read More…]

N.T. Wright Responds to the Apocalyptic Paul School

The major debate about the apostle Paul shifted in the 21st Century from a debate between the “old” and the “new” perspective of Paul to the new perspective vs. the apocalyptic Paul. In saying that, the tussle ends up being between NT Wright (a version of the NPP) and Lou Martyn and his followers (e.g., [Read More…]

Is the “Old” Better? NT Wright Responds

It may simplify but this formula may explain a major difference between at least the most widely-read version of the “new” perspective and the standard “old” perspective: Old Perspective scholars are soteriologians while the NT Wright version of the New Perspective makes him an eschatologian. I am re-reading NT Wright’s Paul and His Recent Interpreters and the chapter [Read More…]

E.P. Sanders on E.P. Sanders

Last Friday I posted a summary by N.T. Wright of E.P. Sanders’ view of Judaism and Paul but I thought it would be good today to post Sanders’ own summary of what he accomplished (or said) in his famous Paul and Palestinian Judaism, a book every intelligent reader of Paul must read for herself or himself. [Read More…]