The Core Principles of Paulâ€™s Thought
Based upon what you have read in Paulâ€™s letters, write an essay in which you describe the core principles of his thought. Your interpretation of those letters should be guided only by what you have learned during class session and from the secondary literature that I have provided to you. Since there are conflicting interpretations of much of what we have read, your paper should take the form of a persuasive argument. Remember, you are reflecting on the historical context of Paulâ€™s letters and not the theological interpretation.
No outside pieces of secondary literature can be used. Only the secondary literature listed below:
â€¢ The New Testament, NRSV
â€¢ Calvin Roetzel; The Letters of Paul: Conversations in Context (5th ed.)
â€¢ Stanley Stowers; A Rereading of Romans
â€¢ Burton L. Mack; Who Wrote the New Testament? The Making of the Christian Myth â€“ Chapter 3: Fragments From the Christ Cult
â€¢ Linda McKinnish Bridges; 1 Thessalonians: The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Books of the Bible
â€¢ Richard S. Ascough; â€œThe Nature and Extent of Voluntary Associationsâ€
â€¢ Richard S. Ascough; â€œThe Thessalonian Community as a Professional Voluntary Associationâ€
â€¢ Caroline Johnson Hodge; â€œMarried to an Unbelieverâ€
â€¢ David B. Capes; 1 Corinthians: The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Books of the Bible
â€¢ John S. Kloppenborg; â€œGreco-Roman Thiasoi, the Ekklesia at Corinth, and Conflict Managementâ€
â€¢ Margaret Mitchell; â€œPaulâ€™s Letters to Corinthâ€
â€¢ Paul Duff; â€œThe Collection from Its Beginnings until Paulâ€™s First Apology to the Corinthiansâ€ (NOT PUBLISHED)
â€¢ Paul Duff; â€œApostolic Suffering and the Language of Processions in 2 Cor 4:7-10â€
â€¢ Caroline Johnson Hodge; â€œDescendants of a Faithful Ancestor: Oi Ek Pisteosâ€
â€¢ Paula Fredriksen; â€œWhy Should a â€˜Law-Freeâ€™ Mission Mean a â€˜Law-Freeâ€™ Apostle?â€
â€¢ John G. Gager; Chapter 3: â€œThe Letter to the Galatiansâ€ from the book Reinventing Paul
â€¢ John Riches; Galatians: The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Books of the Bible
â€¢ James D.G. Dunn; â€œJustification by Faithâ€ from The Theology of Paul the Apostle
In addition to secondary literature, use specific verses from the following letters to support your argument:
â€¢ 1 Thessalonians
â€¢ 1 Corinthians
â€¢ 2 Corinthians
Your grade will be determined, in part, by the following:
1. The comprehensiveness of your essay (i.e., you have addressed the most important issues and you have addressed the majority of Paulâ€™s lettersâ€”NOTE: all of the letters that we have read should be relevant with the possible exception of 2 Corinthians; in the letters that comprise that canonical document, Paul speaks primarily of himself and his ministry)
2. Your efficient use of the secondary literature provided in class
3. The persuasiveness of your argument
Make sure that you express your ideas in plain language. For example, to say, â€œPaul believed that people were justified by faithâ€ would be insufficient since the meaning of â€œjustificationâ€ is unexplained as is the notion of faith.
My Professorâ€™s suggestions to me:
Analyze the gospel and take out the most important pieces:
â€¢ The death Jesus
Why? Because Jesusâ€™ death is salvific in some form. He did not focus on the life of Jesus because when Jesus was alive, he was not using his messianic powers. The use of messianic powers is seen through his death (use Romans and Stowers)
â€¢ Paulâ€™s apostleship to the Gentiles
â€¢ The Gentiles and their relationship to the law (Galatians)
o The law and the curse of the lawâ€¦ who is that directed against (Jews/Gentiles/everybody?)
o Issue with Abraham (Gentiles and Romans)
â€¢ Paulâ€™s Apocalypticism (1 Thessalonians)
â€¢ 1 Corinthians =Focused on the unity of the community; Issues are causing division. Why is the unity so important to Paul???
Focus on what weâ€™ve been discussing in Romans and look over the other letters to fill in what seems to be missing.
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