Friday, September 21, 2007

Book Review: Fee’s Pauline Christology Part 11

For the series outline, click here.

We are now at the end of my review of Fee's Pauline Christology and I am two minds as to how to end it. I have written a lengthy paper critiquing numerous aspects of Fee's work, much of which will find its way into my doctoral work, and I thought it may be better to end on a positive note on the blog.

What say thee? Shall I post some of my negative thoughts? If I do I will limit it to a mater that was discussed during the series, namely Fee's claims regarding pre-existence.

Until then, let me finish with a flurry of honest praise!

First off, Fee's Pauline Christology is quite simply the best work to have ever been written on Pauline Christology. This is not only because it is the first modern scholarly work to be dedicated to this subject, but also because of Fee's exegetical insightfulness as well as some of his methodological choices. For example, Fee avoids the mistake of Kramer and others of focusing so much on the origins of Paul's Christology that Paul's own Christology itself is neglected (cf. the discussion on 531, for example). Furthermore, Fee examines a broad range of material that finally gathers together much christological evidence only treated separately in other studies. This is not to mention his numerous original exegetical insights, especially those involving Paul's apparent intertextual usage of the Greek Bible, his masterful analysis of Phil 2:6-11 and Fee's impressive case against a 'Wisdom Christology' in Paul. His analysis convincingly shows why it is unlikely that Paul ever called Christ 'God' and his treatment of Adam Christology is a model of balance. As with almost all of Fee's work, his exegesis is generally fair and very clear. It is easy to follow. He is additionally aware of possible misunderstandings of his exegesis by North American evangelicals, and so seeks to locate his proposals carefully in the biblical narrative (e.g. with reference to the messianic overtones to 'Son of God' language – this section in chapter 14 is simply splendid –, as well as with the 'new creation' language). On top of this, I find Fee's conclusions generally persuasive in terms of the divine-Christology debate. It is an enormously helpful and insightful volume, one with which every student of Paul will need to become familiar.

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At 9/21/2007 11:05 PM, Anonymous Matthew D. Montonini said...

Chris, I agree 100%. My review of it in RBL will be posted shortly.

At 9/23/2007 1:01 AM, Anonymous Brian said...

Thanks for doing the review, Chris - I am hoping to get it myself eventually! I have enormous respect for Dr. Fee and his biblical scholarship. If only most evangelicals would see through him the potential for pentecostals and charismatics the ability to do solid biblical exegesis and that on more that just the core issues of the movement. Pentecostals and charismatics need to follow his example more readily as well. Keener is another one who comes to mind who is a model of solid biblical scholarship for the P&C folk and everyone else for that matter.

Hope all is well.

At 9/23/2007 8:05 PM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

Thanks, Matthiew, could you let me know when your review is up?

Hi Brian! You are so right.

At 10/03/2007 1:49 AM, Anonymous Matthew D. Montonini said...


I would be happy to!



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