Friday, January 19, 2007

Räisänen & Chips

It’s good to be back in England, especially because we managed to take off and land in near hurricane storms! I just enjoyed a bowl of English ‘Ready Brek’ and after we’ve had a stroll through some local second hand bookshops in Banstead, we will enjoy a plate of good ol’ English chips - the only sort worth eating, i.e big fat lumps of potato glued together in a greasy mass of goo.

Given the delays because of the storms, I had a chance to get a nice amount of reading done. And I’ve got to say, during the process I’ve changed my mind on Heikki Räisänen’s Paul and the Law. There is much that speaks for his argument, and despite the occasional dubious reasoning (i.e the sort that claims that the plausibility of his argument does not depend on a credible reconstruction of the origin of these Pauline “contradictions”’’), there is plenty in Heikki Räisänen’s thesis that now makes a bundle load of sense to me. Many of his arguments and challenges still need to be grappled with, and not dismissed with the wave of an ‘of course Paul was not so inconsistent’ wand. I suspect that the matters Räisänen raises could/should busy another generation of Pauline scholars.

5 Comments:

At 1/19/2007 5:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chris,

Have you read Watson's Paul and the Hermeneutics of Faith? He casts Paul as hermeneutical theologian, trying to solve problems and tensions that actually existed in the text of the Law itself (amidst competing readings) - instead of seeing him as a "dogmatic theologian" with a "view of the Law" proven from Scripture. I like the fact that he takes seriously the fact that the Law presents the failure of its own project at the same time it promises life to those who keep it. In other words, Paul is fundamentally a reader of a text grappling with the plurality of voices within it. Wondered what you make of this trajectory for solving such problems (in contrast with Räisänen's approach).

 
At 1/19/2007 5:52 PM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

Hi Blueraja,
Nice to hear from you. I haven’t read all of it, but I must admit that I had forgotten about the argument you mention as I wrote this post (I'll actually be going into more depth about Watson’s book soon as the good folk at T&T Clark are sending me a review copy for the blog). I suppose the key question, in terms of Watson and Räisänen, is how Paul used the ‘tensions’ within his own arguments - it is this level that Räisänen concerns himself with. Watson may simply help us understand how these tensions could exists in Paul, filling in the blank of Räisänen’s own work, namely the weakest part of his argument: his attempt to explain how so many tensions could sit side by side. Have you read Watson’s book?
All the best.

 
At 1/19/2007 9:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, I've read it. It's as dense as my wedding cake but significantly more dry. I haven't read any Räisänen, so I only know the basics of what you've already mentioned about his proposal. From what I've understood from Watson they seem incompatible, though. He isn't suggesting a kind of dialectical process in Paul's though, and is refuting the notion that he's confused about the Law - he's saying that Paul's wrestling with and attempted drawing together of the Law reflects it's conflicting voices inherent within the Law. This observation alone is a departure from Räisänen as far as I understand him. Paul's a reader and interpreter, not a freewheeling theologizer, prooftexting the OT to bolster his own "view".

 
At 1/21/2007 2:06 AM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

Thanks, blueraja, for your helpful comments. I look forward to reading the rest of this volume when it arrives.

 
At 2/23/2007 9:30 AM, Anonymous dudivie said...

great that our boy z so famous, here...

 

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