Thursday, May 14, 2009

Remonstration of the day

Arguably it makes little sense to qualify a postulated Pauline covenantal nomism on the basis of certain variety in the second Temple literature (cf. so-called variegated nomism) if it can be shown that:

  1. the evidence paints a typical – even if not uniform – covenantal nomist picture of second Temple Judaism
  2. the texts Paul typically drew upon can be better categorised as covenantal nomist.
  3. a covenantal backdrop to Paul is important*

On a) Has not Sanders already made the point? b) their shape and major themes (e.g. deliverance from Egypt before Sinai) would suggest so and c) is, I think, virtually certain. And the old sleight of hand, playing 'creation' against 'covenant' (in Paul or in second Temple texts), is a bizarre mistake.

However, Paul could of course develop new worlds; he was not bound to a second Temple Jewish covenantal nomism. So some may want to extract Paul from his context in an effort to save confessional face. But would this tactic be as readily employed for other areas of Paul's theology? For example, surely all conservatives would want to (correctly) emphasise Jewish modes of thinking when it comes to elucidating his Christology over against the mistakes of the Religionsgeschichtliche Schule...

* This point needs to be developed, of course, but hey ho - this is only a blog post.


At 5/15/2009 6:45 AM, Anonymous Scott Bailey said...

I agree with you, especially about Paul's favorite texts: According to Dietrich-Alex Koch Paul cites Isaiah 28 times, Psalms 20 times, and Deuteronomy and Genesis 15 times each. That list does not lie.

By the way. Can you write a list of points 1, 2, 3 and then refer to them as a, b, c? But hey ho - this is only a blog post.

At 5/15/2009 6:16 PM, Anonymous Edward T. Babinski said...


The high theology doublespeak in your post gave me a nose bleed.

I'm a contrite fallibilist when it comes to believing Paul was infallible, or even systematic, in all of his statements/hypotheses concerning God, or concerning his belief that many illnesses and some deaths occurred due to God judging people during the Lord's supper, or concerning his predictions of the soon coming of the Lord, not to mention concerning attempts to decipher Paul's soteriology and divide it into discrete easily understood categories. Neither do I view such an endeavor as being essential to much of anything in life.

At 5/15/2009 6:33 PM, Anonymous Edward T. Babinski said...

What exactly is the job of a minister? You may give comfort to some people who are suffering and who happen to believe as you do concerning God, Jesus, the church, the afterlife, and believe they are receiving grace via their shared faith, or via eating a wafer together and listening to music together and reading from the same book together.

But then we all have to go back to work at each of our jobs each day, face people with completely different religious beliefs, or with little, or none.

I guess it's nice working in the religion biz because you receive respect, even holy respect and awe due to knowing more about that holy book read in your church on Sundays, knowing more about it than 99% of the people in your church and Sunday school class. Most people don't receive that much respect on their jobs, though they may work for companies where the employees read from the same "spec manuals." Such people may work harder than you, both intellectually (if they are working in advanced engineering fields) or physically, and receive less respect than you from a room full of parishoners.

Paul was a happy first century fanatic, good for him. You're not as fanatical as Paul, nor as fanatical as statements in the later pastoral epistles that some Christian fanatics wrote in the name of Paul. What exactly are you then? Have you figured that out yet? Forget about Paul, consider yourself and why you are NOT the fanatic Paul or other first century Christians were.

At 5/15/2009 11:20 PM, Anonymous Edward T. Babinski said...

The Pauline Rune Codes

Now that you're a paid minister you get paid a salary to repeat to people that happy things will happen to them after they die.

But don't you feel a little bit uncomfortable taking money from people knowing that you've never seen a dead man rise, and that you have your own private doubts and fears?

You also are like a priest getting paid to interpret and decipher holy runes for the congregation, messages from God, the Pauline rune codes.

At 5/16/2009 4:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure Ed's post is worthy of the dilettante hobby horse blog.

At 5/18/2009 1:01 AM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

Hi Ed, why do you think the post involved "doublespeak"?

Some pretty broad questions there, like "What exactly are you then?". It is pretty simple really: I am Chris Tilling.

This reminds me of a scene in anger management, where the Jack Nicholson keeps asking Adam Sandler "Who he is"!

"Now that you're a paid minister"

I'm not actually ordained, nor do I run a church, officiate the sacraments, bury or marry people, or even preach that often.


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