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Posts tagged "Paul"


Saving Paul from the Academy: A Conference Breakout Preview

Only three days away! This breakout will be led by Professor Todd Brewer.

“The Academy” is a term used by both insiders and outsiders to speak about the world of biblical scholarship. It is a term meant to ascribe prestige and importance to one’s profession and life work. To be a card-carrying member of “the guild” – to use another term of esteem – is to be part of an elite club of professionals trapped by the perpetual need to justify their significance. But to most people, “the academy” is a term of intimidation to create a feeling of inadequacy on the part of the so-called, non-specialist layperson, thus making the Bible and faith itself feel like something you’re not qualified to have an opinion about.

Along the same lines, the last 40+ years of Pauline scholarship – with its almost iconoclastic radicalism – has so thoroughly revised the traditional understanding of Paul that many, if not most, feel unable to understand the Bible at all.

This breakout session has three, related goals. I first hope to offer a pointed critique at recent interpreters of Paul and their overall practice of interpretation, particularly those within what are known as the “New Perspective on Paul,” and the “anti-imperial Paul.” By way of critical-historical inquiry, these scholars ironically offer an allegorical reading of Paul by constantly reconstructing what St. Paul really said and overlooking what he actually said. Secondly, I hope to outline a positive vision for how to read the Bible, one that views it not as a riddle to be solved by the specialist, but as a conversation partner that wants to be charitably heard on its own terms, without being overinterpreted. Finally, I will examine Galatians 3:24-25 to offer some critical self-reflection on how Paul has been understood by Luther (and, by extension, Mockingbird!).

Resurrection & The Grace Of Doing Nothing

Resurrection & The Grace Of Doing Nothing

Towards the end of his first missive to the Corinthian church, the Apostle Paul offers a mini tour-de-force in defense of the veracity of the bodily resurrection of Jesus. For Paul this conviction is central not just to the future hope of the people of God but also to orient the pilgrim life of the faithful in this present broken age. “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” ( 1 Cor. 15:56-57). Then the argument concludes with something that,…

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The Manner of Men - Rudyard Kipling

The Manner of Men – Rudyard Kipling

Wow. This was new to me. A short story by the renowned Jungle Book author, which recounts Paul’s shipwreck in Acts 27-28 from the point of view of the sailors who accompanied him. Takes a little while to get going, but once it does… Brilliant. The ending especially. Click here for more background. There are a lot worse ways to spend your afternoon/evening.

Bridgeman; (c) David Brangwyn; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

‘If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts.’— I Cor. XV. 32

Her cinnabar-tinted topsail, nicking the hot blue horizon, showed she was a Spanish wheat-boat…

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The 21 Beheaded Egyptians Make Me Proud to Be a Christian

The 21 Beheaded Egyptians Make Me Proud to Be a Christian

From Cairo to Rome and beyond, the reaction to the beheading of 21 Coptic Christians by ISIS has been swift and profound: anger and condemnation, sadness and solidarity. Yet, as I have thought over this horrific event, another emotion has swelled within in me: pride. For while the Islamic State considers itself to be following in the footsteps of its religious founder and leader (see here,  here and here), the 21 Egyptians were undoubtedly following in the footsteps of theirs.

“He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent…

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John Calvin Does the Thing He Hates

John Calvin Does the Thing He Hates

From the Genevan Doctor’s commentary on Romans 7–as a quick disclaimer, he was better at thinking than writing too sympathetically:

He now comes to a more particular case, that of a man already regenerated… But though the will of a faithful man is led to good by the Spirit of God, yet in him the corruption of nature appears conspicuously; for it obstinately resists and leads to what is contrary. Hence the case of a regenerated man is the most suitable; for by this you may know how much is the contrariety between our nature and the righteousness of the law…

The…

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Bridging the Divide Between Jesus and Paul: Part 1

Bridging the Divide Between Jesus and Paul: Part 1

The following is the first of three posts devoted to the question of the relationship between Paul the Apostle and Jesus of Nazareth.

It was only a hundred years ago that German scholar William Wrede contended that Paul should be considered “the real founder of Christianity”. In his eyes, Paul was the innovative theologian who transformed Christianity from the kingdom proclamation of a wandering Jewish Rabbi into a religion of saving facts, incarnation, death/resurrection, and redemption. Wrede’s statement, however provocative it is, represents a fault line within Christianity that persists today. In many sections of Christianity Jesus’ simple message of the…

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Hannah Arendt on Jesus' and Paul's Conception(s) of the Law

Hannah Arendt on Jesus’ and Paul’s Conception(s) of the Law

Another quotation taken from the chapter “The Apostle Paul and the Impotence of the Will” in the second volume of her The Life of the Mind, pgs 66-68:

Paul was certainly aware of the radical turn the old demand to fulfill the law had taken in the teaching of Jesus of Nazareth. And he may well have suddenly understood that in this lay the law’s only true fulfillment, and then have found out that such fulfillment was beyond human power: it led to an I-will-but-cannot, even though Jesus himself seems never to have told any of his followers that they could…

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