[ KINDLE ] ✾ The Paul Debate: Critical Questions for Understanding the Apostle Author N. T. Wright – Tactical-player.co.uk
Awesome insight Future apologists will look at Wright as the man who built a bridge back to Catholicism just not sure if the protestants will walk it A very deep book with stimulating thought. For All Who Have Read Paul The Faithfulness Of God, Or Have Simply Wondered What All The Fuss Is About, This Book Takes You Straight To The Storm Centres Of Debate Among The World S Most Distinguished Pauline Scholars, As They Assess The Impact And Significance Of This Landmark Book In The Last Two Decades N T Wright Has Produced A Succession Of Connected Volumes That Explore The Nature And Origins Of Christianity Wright Has Consistently Argued That Christianity, While Indebted To Second Temple Judaism, Represents A Significant Development With Major Books On Method And Background, Jesus, And The Resurrection Already In Print, In Paul And The Faithfulness Of God, Wright Added A Comprehensive Study Of The Apostle To The Gentiles The Paul Debate Is Essential Reading For Those Who Both Agree And Disagree With Wright, And For All Who Want To Understand The Compelling Voice Of One Of The Most Read And Productive Pauline Scholars In The Past Decades. Excellent book Great book.Item as described, well packed, promptly shipped. N.T Wright s take on Paul is splendid He takes seriously studies done on 1st c Judaism and how Paul is firmly grounded in this tradition It reveals some very profound insights concerning how the Good News, Messiah Christ, Justification and the like really meant for Paul. I ve read most of Wright s scholarly works as well as much of the scholars with whom he interacts I agree with many of the critiques of the New Perspective against the Old Perspective while at the same time am not entirely convinced by all the proposals that have been put forward I am sympathetic to Wright s overall method and project Moving on The Paul Debate is Wright s response to the critical reviews by multiple prominent scholars of his Paul and the Faithfulness of God The book is not meant as a line by line response to the reviews or as a response to individuals or even schools of thought but rather focuses on the main issues by contrasting the options with specific either or contrasts There are five chapters that correspond to the most questioned parts of Wright s work.The first chapter, Paul and the Messiah Knowing the Name or Having the Mind , frames Paul s theology as a whole and addresses three options a Was Paul simply a Jewish thinker who happened to know the name of the Messiah Or, b Was Paul, then, a Hellenistic thinker who constructed a non Jewish scheme of thought in which fragments from his Jewish world remain but without influencing the real structures Or, c Was Paul, then, a Jewish thinker whose thought had been radically renewed from within by a new event which meant what it meant for him within a Jewish and particularly scriptural frame of reference pgs 19 20 Wright selects the third option This chapter perhaps addresses debates from the past rather than ones with which Wright s reviewers presently take issue Wright provides a nice middle of the road explanation for Paul s relation to the Jewish world, Paul was articulating and working out a Jewish message for the non Jewish world, even as he was articulating a messianic critique of the Jewish world of his day pg 12 The second chapter, How to Begin with Jesus What Did Paul Know and How Did He Come to Know It , is framed with two questions a Did Paul have a robust belief about Jesus, including identifying him in some sense with the God of Israel, or are beliefs like that only to be found later in early Christianity, after Paul s Day Or, b Was Paul s belief about Jesus a fresh flowering of already existent Jewish material, or is there some other signal means by which he developed his mature views Wright notes that the first question is now less controversial This chapter does not primarily address the stated dichotomy between questions a and b but rather the dichotomy within b Wright suggests that the confluence of three aspects resulted in Paul s high Christology the Scriptures, Jewish ideas about intermediary figures the presence of Jesus in worship, and the resurrection pg 29 The second idea appears to actually be two separate ideas Wright suggests that the belief that God would deliver his people and return to Zion to dwell with his people along with the resurrection God s action of deliverance were significant factors as well It would seem, however, that God raising Jesus would stand against Wright s thesis The return of God s shekinah to the temple would also seem to be easily identified with the Spirit Perhaps the experience of the presence of Jesus via the Spirit of God warrants attention than Wright gives it.The third chapter, Apocalyptic Covenantal Narrative or Cosmic Invasion , is where the book really begins to wade into highly contested areas Wright sets the questions out in this way a Is Paul invoking an apocalyptic worldview which rules out a covenantal narrative particularly, Does Paul see the cross and resurrection of Jesus as the divine invasion which brings to an end the narrative of Israel s covenant with God, and begins a new non covenantal era in which the dark powers which have ruled the world are defeated Or, b Is apocalyptic simply a literary form which does not necessarily determine the worldview being expressed again particularly, Can the cross and resurrection of Jesus invoke Israel s covenantal narrative in a way which shows at the same time how the cosmic powers are dealt with pgs 41 42 As the questions show, this chapter deals with two issues The first is in regards to terminology There are real differences between the positions yet Wright takes issue with the name apocalyptic and notes its Greek root meaning revelation as well as apocalyptic being a genre and not a worldview While all true, this may be a bit of a straw man as apocalyptic can be used as shorthand for a certain conception of eschatology Wright himself seems to share the basic eschatological framework of those he critiques yet takes issue with the name The second half of both questions, the issue of continuity or discontinuity with the covenant, is where the real differences lie once one gets past the fuzzy terminology Wright critiques the apocalyptic school for its lack of attention to themes of judgment while at the same time focusing on the normal questions of western and Protestant soteriology Wright notes that the apocalyptic school runs the risk of falling back into the old perspective and in need of the critique of Sanders and Stendhal pg 50 51 Wright wants to avoid the false antithesis between apocalyptic and the promises and purposes of the covenant God of Israel pg 56 In many ways this new debate seems to mirror the difference between Luther and Calvin with Luther being the apocalyptic and Wright taking Calvin s position Wright s critique in regards to continuity is quite strong although the point of strength of the apocalyptic school may be in the realm of the soteriological emphasis on justification the next chapter.The fourth chapter, The Justified People of God Messianic Israel or Saved Sinners , is set up with the following questions a Does Paul see the people of God as a company of saved sinners, a new group who, being justified by faith rather than by works of the law, have left behind everything to do with Israel according to the flesh Or, b Does Paul see the people of God as in some sense the new Israel, envisaging a kind of transformation through which the people of God as a whole, not merely individuals, have been turned through Jesus death and resurrection into something new The questions as posed seem to suggest the options of either soteriology or ecclesiology and harkens back to the prior chapter and the issue of continuity Wright notes that all of these positions could be construed as anti Judaism Due to the gospel, according to Wright, the people of God was transformed and expanded pg 70 This is then followed up by two questions c When Paul speaks of justification, is he talking of the imputation of Christ s righteousness to the believer despite the absence of meritorious works Or, d When Paul speaks of justification, is he speaking of the inclusion of all believers, gentiles as well as Jews, within the single family who are to share table fellowship pg 71 It is of course possible that the first question be wrong without requiring the second question to be the required alternative In perhaps something new, Wright openly agrees with Schweitzer that justification is a smaller crater of being in Christ pg 71 Wright correlates these juridicial and particpationist ideas via Jesus being the representative of Israel Wright argues at length for the implications of Jesus being Israel in person but notes that there is no precedent for such a conception of the Messiah outside of Paul pg 76 This is perhaps the most crucial point of Wright s understanding of justification, God was going to raise Israel at the end, therefore since Jesus has risen from the dead then he is Israel in person pg 77 Therefore, all that belong to Christ are part of God s people Coupled with the lack of wider attestation, the fact that God s promise to Israel of resurrection does not apply to all Israel as traditionally defined it seems precarious to posit the link between the resurrection and in Christ as functioning in this manner.Wright then proceeds to again put forth his idea of justification that he argues for carefully in other places He correlates the forgiveness of sins as essentially removing the bar on membership in the people of God for Gentiles While certainly essential to Paul s Gentile mission, if justification is construed so narrowly it does leave one wondering whether this is all that justification accomplishes particularly, is renewed covenant membership for Jews essentially different than their un renewed covenant membership Wright s reading of Paul s critique of the law as being primarily in regards to the Jew Gentile issue perhaps mutes such concerns.Wright s last chapter, Theology, Mission, and Method Paul s and Ours, covers multiple areas It is set up with the questions, a Was Paul s mission a matter of saving as many souls as he could from the wreck of the world and the wrath of God Or, b Was Paul s mission a matter, rather, of infiltrating the culture of his day, transforming it steadily from within pg 93 Wright affirms the second option but notes much in Paul that could perhaps be construed to support the first He then moves on to the issue of the salvation of all Israel and the difficulties in proposes in order to setup the observation that, There are many things here to unsettle and destabilize modern notions of mission pg 96 He then proceeds to outline a larger world of Pauline mission based on the ideas of creation and new creation pg 96 Wright basically presents the church modeling the new creation as Paul s conception of mission I do wonder how Wright sees such communities as having come to exist in the first place if not through the preaching of the gospel that elicits faith and what would happen to those that do not become part of such communities While the emphasis on new creation and the resurrection of the body may not always be adequately represented in current mission perhaps those are different issues than the rightness of evangelism which Wright appears to be questioning.Wright concludes with discussing the method for doing theology and while not rejecting exegesis that starts with the small minutia and building to a larger picture, also finds a place for large theories to be posited and then tested against the evidence.Overall, the book is very concise, readable, and non combative It seems to repeat the arguments put forward in Paul and the Faithfulness of God rather than incorporate or rebut points from the critiques offered It is a useful summary of Wright s basic positions although does not delve deeply into the argumentation If someone is not familiar with Wright s work this book may serve to outline where he stands on various issues If, however, the reader is not convinced or would like further explanation it will be required to look into Wright s other works Unfortunately, the reader will be on their own in terms of finding the relevant places to look Likewise, if someone is not familiar with whom Wright is arguing against in the various chapters, they will be on their own in knowing where to look next as the opponents are not typically identified For those that are critical of his work it does not seem that this book offers any new arguments or rebuttals Wright does provide a helpful appendix with a list of all the critical reviews put forth by well known scholars Paul and His Interpreters perhaps offers substantial interaction Still, The Paul Debate may be useful for those that want to hear the same arguments in different ways. THE LITTLE BIG BOOK THAT COULD I already own Wright s big Paul book the one delivered by fork lift But I felt the best approach to the big Paul book was to first carefully study this book, which presents his final position, after responding to feed back concerning the big book I was right it is my opinion that you should start here, then take on the big Paul book THE PAUL DEBATE is undoubtedly the finest manuscript I ve ever studied concerning Paul It should easily get Theology Book of the Year At only 110 pages you get the greatest depth of content that I can imagine.The lesson chapters average about 20 pages each and run in this order 1 RENEWAL OF MIND and I ve been richly blessed through its study Easily 5 stars Highly recommended to all.ONE ADDITIONAL IMPORTANT NOTE PROFESSOR WRIGHT EXPECTS HIS READERS TO STUDY THIS MANUSCRIPT IN CONJUNCTION WITH STUDY IN THE SCRIPTURES those New Testament references have a purpose my friends Engaging in exegetical study, along with this manuscript, will be extremely beneficial Hard going A really useful summary of Wright s views on Paul.