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Paul and Scripture

Paul and Scripture: Extending the Conversation

Edited by Christopher D. Stanley
  • Book Info
    Paul and Scripture
    Book Description:

    This book, which grew out of the Society of Biblical Literature’s Paul and Scripture Seminar, explores some of the methodological problems that have arisen during the last few decades of scholarly research on the apostle Paul’s engagement with his ancestral Scriptures. Essays explore the historical backgrounds of Paul’s interpretive practices, the question of Paul’s “faithfulness” to the context of his biblical references, the presence of Scripture in letters other than the Hauptbriefe, and the role of Scripture in Paul’s theology. All of the essays look at old questions through new lenses in an effort to break through scholarly impasses and advance the debate in new directions. The contributors are Matthew W. Bates, Linda L. Belleville, Roy E. Ciampa, Bruce N. Fisk, Stephen E. Fowl, Leonard Greenspoon, E. Elizabeth Johnson, Mitchell M. Kim, Steve Moyise, Jeremy Punt, Christopher D. Stanley, and Jerry L. Sumney.

    eISBN: 978-1-58983-695-2
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

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  1. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  2. Abbreviations
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)
    Christopher D. Stanley

    This book marks the final chapter in the work of the Paul and Scripture Seminar, which operated for six years under the aegis of the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature (2005–2010). A collection of essays from the first three years of the seminar, together with a few other articles that were commissioned to round out the discussion, was published in 2008 under the title As It Is Written: Studying Paul’s Use of Scripture.¹ The present volume continues the conversation with essays from the last three years of the seminar and some additional articles that were written...

  4. Part 1: The Historical Context

    • By the Letter? Word for Word? Scriptural Citation in Paul
      (pp. 9-24)
      Leonard Greenspoon

      My first entry into this topic—the degree to which Paul cited Scripture from memory (rather than from a written text) and the means by which we can detect this technique on his part—was serendipitous in precisely the way that much scholarship is. I was working on an article about the Jewish biblical scholar and Bible translator Harry M. Orlinsky when I ran across these comments (dated 29 November 1936) in a batch of correspondence between James Montgomery of the University of Pennsylvania and Orlinsky:

      And so in the N. T., a good scholar like Paul freely memoriter cites...

    • Identity, Memory, and Scriptural Warrant: Arguing Paul’s Case
      (pp. 25-54)
      Jeremy Punt

      In a recent study on early Christian identity, a basic question was not really addressed, partly because it was not a focal interest of the study and partly because of conventional views in this regard.² While the contributors acknowledged in various ways, some tacitly and others explicitly,³ that textual traditions had influenced the New Testament authors’ concerns with identity, a further set of questions remained unanswered. What was the rationale for the constitutively important role of Israel’s Scriptures in the formation of the new Jesus-centered movement, which in many cases entailed that they be read against their own traditions? Why...

    • Paul among the Storytellers: Reading Romans 11 in the Context of Rewritten Bible
      (pp. 55-94)
      Bruce N. Fisk

      Only a generation ago it was possible for a ranking Pauline scholar to offer a learned treatise on Paul’s relationship to Palestinian Judaism and say virtually nothing about how Scripture functioned in either context. Times have changed. The quest for Paul’s “Jewishness” inspired by E. P. Sanders (among others),¹ combined with the increasing availability of primary sources and the literary turn in late twentieth-century biblical scholarship, meant it was inevitable that Paul’s use of Scripture would come to be compared closely with the way Scripture functioned among the tradents of Second Temple Judaism. Thus today the claim that Paul’s use...

  5. Part 2: Text and Context

    • Does Paul Respect the Context of His Quotations?
      (pp. 97-114)
      Steve Moyise

      It is clear from even a cursory glance at the literature on Paul’s use of Scripture that studies tend to fall into one of two camps: some regard him as a great exegete, laying bare the meaning of Scripture in the light of the Christ-event,¹ while others view him as an expert in rhetoric, using Scripture to support positions that may have been reached on other grounds. Both sides recognize the importance of the Christ-event for Paul’s interpretations, but they differ as to its role. The former sees Scripture as a genuine object of study, able to “speak” to the...

    • Respect for Context and Authorial Intention: Setting the Epistemological Bar
      (pp. 115-130)
      Mitchell Kim

      The degree of Paul’s respect for the original context of his Old Testament allusions and quotations is a matter of ongoing debate. In his essay in this volume, Steve Moyise argues that “‘respect’ is not a very precise term” to convey the types of complex and daring interpretations that Paul offers of Old Testament texts. The imprecision of the phrase “respect for context” is a subset of a muddled conception of authorial intention more broadly; Stanley Porter comments rightly that “biblical scholars need a more precise definition of intentionality.”¹

      Philosopher Michael Polanyi provides resources to define authorial intention more precisely...

    • Latency and Respect for Context: A Response to Mitchell Kim
      (pp. 131-140)
      Steve Moyise

      Much of the discussion about the apostle Paul’s “respect for context” has assumed that the meaning of the Old Testament text is relatively clear. In this model, the task of the scholar is to evaluate the proximity or lack of proximity between Paul’s interpretations and the original meaning of the texts. By drawing on the concept of latent meaning, Mitchell Kim has drawn our attention to the fact that the original meanings are far from clear. It is a common experience that people “say more than they know,” so that hindsight can lead to an acknowledgment of “that’s what I...

  6. Part 3: Beyond the Hauptbriefe

    • Paul’s Reliance on Scripture in 1 Thessalonians
      (pp. 143-162)
      E. Elizabeth Johnson

      Though in 1 Thessalonians Paul uses what we recognize as biblical language and some phrases that seem to echo the Bible, nowhere in this letter does he quote Scripture as he does elsewhere. This essay seeks to understand how the scattered echoes and allusions to Scripture in 1 Thessalonians inform the shape of Paul’s apocalyptic theology, regardless of whether those echoes and allusions would have been recognized by his Thessalonian listeners.

      It is instructive to compare the letter to the Romans, which in the Nestle-Aland 27 text is peppered with italicized words and sentences indicating quotations from or allusions to...

    • The Use of Scripture in Philippians
      (pp. 163-184)
      Stephen Fowl

      I should begin by confessing that I was and still am a huge fan of Richard Hays’s Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul.¹ I found his readings compelling, as they often resolve textual conundrums and opening new vistas for thinking about familiar texts. It is one of those books that changes the shape of conversations. Scholars now think of the connections between Paul’s letters and the Old Testament in significantly richer, deeper, and more comprehensive ways as the result of this book.

      At the same time, and perhaps because of Hays’s work, one is forced to ask questions...

    • Writing “in the Image” of Scripture: The Form and Function of References to Scripture in Colossians
      (pp. 185-230)
      Jerry L. Sumney

      Discussion of Paul’s use of Scripture has grown exponentially since the publication of Richard Hays’s Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul twenty years ago. His work has stimulated important discussions of methods for identifying and interpreting allusions, as well as of analyses of Paul’s hermeneutic. Even though I will treat Colossians as a pseudonymous work, the recent work on Paul’s use of Israel’s Scriptures demands that one stake out some initial positions about identifying allusions and their use in the broader Greco-Roman culture.

      A number of interpreters have set out criteria for identifying allusions. Some focus on the...

  7. Part 4: Scripture in Paul’s Theology

    • Scripture and Other Voices in Paul’s Theology
      (pp. 233-262)
      Linda L. Belleville

      A common approach to analyzing Scripture in Paul is to identify explicit quotations and implicit allusions, or “echoes,” and to consider what they have to say about Paul’s theology. The underlying assumption is that Paul’s theological Sitz im Leben was exclusively that of the Jewish Scriptures. Yet this can all too easily result in a leap-frog hermeneutical approach that overlooks the rich tradition of “other voices” reflected in Paul’s theologizing.

      This essay will explore “other voices” that shed light on Pauline texts that have commonly been labeled as theologically abstruse or the products of an overactive imagination.¹ Specifically, the voice...

    • Beyond Hays’s Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul: A Proposed Diachronic Intertextuality with Romans 10:16 as a Test Case
      (pp. 263-292)
      Matthew W. Bates

      The vocabulary and cadences of Scripture—particularly of the LXX—are imprinted deeply on Paul’s mind, and the great stories of Israel continue to serve for him as a fund of symbols and metaphors that condition his perception of the world, of God’s promised deliverance of his people, and of his own identity and calling. His faith, in short, is one whose articulation is inevitably intertextual in character, and Israel’s Scripture is the “determinate subtext that plays a constitutive role” in shaping his literary production.¹

      I suspect that one would be hard pressed to find a contemporary Pauline scholar who...

    • Approaching Paul’s Use of Scripture in Light of Translation Studies
      (pp. 293-318)
      Roy E. Ciampa

      Translation studies is a young and energetic field of study that applies a broad range of disciplinary approaches to issues in translation and interpretation services. Numerous graduate programs offer masters and doctoral degrees in the field, often as part of literature or linguistics departments. The field also has several professional organizations, such as the American Translation and Interpreting Studies Association (ATISA), the European Society for Translation Studies (ESTS), and others. Dozens of academic journals are dedicated to the field, including Translation Studies, Translation: A Translation Studies Journal, the International Journal of Translation Studies, New Voices in Translation Studies, and many...

  8. Part 5: Conclusions

    • What We Learned—and What We Didn’t
      (pp. 321-330)
      Christopher D. Stanley

      In the introduction to the first volume of essays from the “Paul and Scripture Seminar,”¹ I listed six broad questions that the seminar participants had decided should guide our discussions of the methodological problems associated with research in Paul’s engagement with Scripture.

      1. What do we mean by Paul’s “use” of Scripture?

      2. What kinds of data yield the best understanding of Paul’s engagement with the text of Scripture?

      3. How does one recognize references to Scripture in Paul’s letters?

      4. How do Paul’s references to the Jewish Scriptures relate to their original context?

      5. What can we presume about the biblical literacy of Paul’s...

  9. Contributors
    (pp. 331-334)
  10. Index of Ancient Sources
    (pp. 335-352)
  11. Index of Modern Authors
    (pp. 353-358)