Matthew Thomas and Wyatt Graham discuss how early Christians understood the phrase “the Works of the Law” in Paul. I hope you enjoy the conversation.
Make sure to subscribe to the podcast on Spotify and/or Apple Podcasts. Also, see the host page at Anchor and the Youtube page. And bookmark this page to see every episode. [Read more…] about Episode 17: Matthew Thomas on the Works of the Law in the Second Century
Luke Timothy Johnson wrote Constructing Paul with the expertise of one who has spent much of his life studying Paul and his world. In this first of two volumes, Johnson lays out his vision for constructing Paul.
Johnson explains, “In this work I propose a third sort of construction, not of the life and thought of the ‘historical Paul,’ nor Paul’s thought as understood or used by later ecclesiastical commentators and theologians, but of the elements required for a responsible reading of the letters ascribed to Paul in the New Testament canon” (12–13).
He continues: “The essays in this first volume undertake an assessment of all the elements needed for a reader to do serious study of these letters” (13).
In essence, volume one provides the framework to hear Paul’s voice, which Johnson hopes to convey (or hear) in the second volume (15). The first volume of Constructing Paul thus provides the scaffolding to undertake serious study of Paul’s letters, which Johnson will illustrate in volume 2.
Douglas Campbell’s massive tome (740pp) on Paul looks intimidating. Yet because he writes in an inviting and skillful manner, almost any interested and motivated reader could grasp its content. In fact, it is one of the best-written theology books that I have ever read. Almost certainly, interested lay-persons, college students, and seminarians alike could read and understand this work of pauline theology. Added to that, the cross-disciplinary methodology of Campbell makes the content feel at home in the real world. Insights from sociology and other disciplines de-jargonize the theological arguments throughout.
While I am praising the book’s ability to communicate, I by no means will praise every argument that Campbell puts forward. In fact, I find myself in a position of critical appreciation (sometimes highly critical). For example, the sachkritik method of Campbell (pressing a key, clear idea into a less clear idea to make sense of it) sometimes overrides the scriptural evidence; his hopeful universalism becomes too skewed because it says more than Scripture does; his ethics according to sachkritik and anti-foundationalism lead to infelicitous conclusions; and his admittedly nuanced social trinitarianism gives me pause. [Read more…] about Review of Douglas Campbell’s Pauline Dogmatics
Westfall, Cynthia. Paul and Gender: Reclaiming the Apostle’s Vision for Men and Women in Christ. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2016. Pp. xix +347. ISBN 9780801097942. $32.99 USD [Softcover]. Source for Book Cover.
Cynthia Westfall’s work Paul and Gender will likely become the standard evangelical work on Paul’s understanding of gender in the Bible. Westfall thoroughly exegetes the key biblical texts and avoids writing a book merely on women’s issues or on controversial biblical passages on women in the church.
Pastors and biblical students should read Paul and Gender to understand the contemporary discussion on the topic. Complementarian readers should especially invest time in reading Westfall because she presents a well-argued and biblical rationale for an egalitarian reading of Paul. Westfall’s monograph is not without its negatives, and Westfall’s arguments for an egalitarian Paul run into numerous problems. [Read more…] about Review: Paul and Gender by Cynthia Westfall
New Testament writers often cite or allude to the Old Testament to make theological points. In this way, the Old Testament forms the narrative sub-structure behind the New Testament, always present but not always explicitly so.
Through careful study, students of the Bible can discover citations, allusions, and echoes of the Old Testament throughout the New Testament. For example, Romans consistently quotes the Old Testament to argue theologically. Consider, for example, how Paul cites Abraham’s experience in Genesis 15 to substantiate the doctrine of Justification in Romans 4. [Read more…] about Did Paul’s Audience Grasp His Use of the OT?