2013 Paul

Session 1

John Barclay (Durham University)

Christ as Gift

The association in Paul between Christ and the language of gift (charis, dorea etc.) has long been recognised: but what is its argumentative force? In moving away from the ‘old perspective’, the last generation of Pauline scholarship has seen nothing particularly distinctive about this association in Paul, and no link to his Gentile mission (which is correlated with other Pauline motifs).  But Sanders’ illumination of the priority of grace in the Jewish tradition is not identical to the Pauline emphasis on the incongruity of grace (grace/mercy being a theme ‘perfected’ in Second Temple Judaism in many different ways).   Once we see the radicality in Paul’s understanding of the incongruity of the Christ-gift, the rationale for and conduct of his Gentile mission becomes clear – as will be shown by a reading of Galatians 2.11-21. 


Jesus and the God of Exodus and Return

Pauline Christology has often been discussed in terms of possible pre-Christian quasi-divine figures that might serve as partial models. I suggest doing it the other way round. In the second temple period, many Jews continued to speak of awaiting YHWH’s return, as in Ezekiel, Zechariah or Malachi, echoing expectations of a new Exodus with the Shekinah coming back to the holy place. Paul, rather than using ‘divine’ or ‘quasi-divine’ language for the human Jesus, was as it were using Jesus-language for the perceived divine reappearance. This offers a new way into a  ‘wisdom’-Christology. This is explored in relation to Galatians 4, Romans 8 and 2 Corinthians 4.


Christ in the Soteriology of Galatians

Christ has an astonishing range of roles in the ideas of salvation in Galatians.  As “the seed” of Abraham he received the promise made to Abraham (3:15–16, 19).  He was sent as God’s son into a life “from a woman” and “under Law” (4:4). Christ acted to “redeem those under Law”, with the intended result of enabling “adoption” (4:5).  Galatians repeatedly notes that Christ experienced death, crucifixion (2:19, 21;  3:1, 13;  6:12, 14, 17).  This death is described as a motivated action by Christ:  he “gave himself” “for our sins” (1:4), “for me” (Paul, paradigmatically, 2:20).  In 1:4, this has a purpose, “to rescue us from the present evil age”.  We can link that with 5:1, he “set us free”, and 3:13, in which redemption from the Law’s curse involves Christ becoming “a curse”. The cross also acts as locus for identification with Christ (2:19-20) and a changed relationship to the world (6:14). Christ experienced resurrection by God (1:1).  Christ “lives” in Paul and, by implication, in other Christians (2:20). God sends “the Spirit of his Son” into the Christian’s heart (4:6). Conversely, Christians are “baptised into Christ” and “put on Christ” (3:27).  They are “in Christ Jesus” (3:28) and share Christ’s identity as “seed of Abraham” (3:29) and as “sons of God” (3:26;  4:6). This paper reflects on the combination of this range of ideas and on some notable absences from it, such as Richard Hays’s concept of Christ’s obedience to God, and various of J. Louis Martyn’s ideas of objective changes in the cosmos brought about in the cross.


Session 2

The Lord of Peace: Christ our Peace in Pauline Theology

Despite contemporary efforts by such NT scholars as Willard Swartley, the claim that peace is central to Pauline theology (including Christology) and ethics has not been universally acknowledged, as evidenced in even some of the most recent and most comprehensive treatments of Paul. This paper will review a portion of the evidence in Paul for Jesus as both (1) the crucified and resurrected Messiah who inaugurated God’s promised eschatological peace and (2) the present Lord who continues to form each ekklesia into a peaceful, peacemaking community. In each role, Jesus is both the source and the shape of God’s  shalom. While this evidence demonstrates the centrality of peace and peacemaking to Pauline Christology, it also shows that Paul does not think of Christ as peacemaker in isolation, but only in conjunction with God the Father and the Spirit, on the one hand, and in union with the ekklesia, on the other.


John Barclay
Tom Wright
Peter Oakes
Michael J Gorman

Panel Discussion

Panel Discussion with Barclay, Wright, Oakes, and Gorman


Session 3

Crispin Fletcher-Louis

Did Paul Have a "Christological Monotheism"?

This paper takes up recent debates around Paul’s Christology, particularly the work of Dunn, Wright, Hurtado, Bauckham, Tilling and McGrath, and addresses the specific question: is it appropriate to speak of Paul’s “Christological Monotheism” (so esp. Wright and Bauckham)? The interpretative possibilities, in particular, of 1 Corinthians 8:6 will be considered in the light of fresh insights from the study of biblical and Second Temple Jewish traditions. It will be argued that a well-established tradition of creative interpretation of the Shema and recent advances in our understanding of numerical structures employed by Jewish scribes confirms the view that 1 Cor 8:6 splits the Shema and includes Jesus Christ within the divine identity. However, it will also be argued that some discussion of Paul’s “divine identity” Christology risks obscuring the shape of Paul’s theology and the purpose of 1 Cor 8:6 in its immediate context. Also, in the light of a better understanding of Jewish monotheism, it may be better now to shelve the label “Christological monotheism” in the modern description of Pauline theology.


What Does Every Tongue Confess in Philippians 2:11?

Interpreters have almost ubiquitously taken the confession of Phil 2:11 to consist of the assertion that “Jesus Christ is Lord,” understanding κύριος in connection with the divine name in the LXX. Following from this, the expression εἰς δόξαν θεοῦ πατρός has typically been understood as a doxological flourish in connection with the entire hymn (Phil 2:5–11), the exaltation of Jesus (Phil 2:9), or the confession κύριος Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς (Phil 2:11). In the present essay, I argue that the confession of Phil 2:11 consists of the full phrase κύριος Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς εἰς δόξαν θεοῦ πατρός and should be
understand as “the Lord Jesus Christ has become the glory of God.” Following this suggested rendering, arguments for the viability of the reading are undertaken (e.g., allusive background, syntax, immediate context, larger context, other early Christian hymns). Finally, in the conclusion, I suggest that this reading of Phil 2:11 provides further avenues for discussion of Adamic christology, counter-imperial ideology, and divine christology.


Pauline Anthropology: The two Men in the one Man

In Paul’s description of human beings statistically the terms flesh and body prevail. The phrase ho esō anthrōpos appears twice in his writings. I shall argue that this phrase also describes his eschatology. In 2 Cor. 4: 16 ho esō hēmōn [anthrōpos], forming a pair with ho eksō hēmōn anthrōpos,  express an anthropological duality. In 2 Cor. 4:16 - 5:10 the “inner man” is related to the things which “cannot be seen” and are eternal, to a “building from God”, to “a house not made with hands” etc. The “outer man” is “wasting away”, and is used as a metaphor for the physical body.

The “inner man” is being renewed day by day, but is not described as the soul or mind. It survives physical death and seems to preserve the continuity and identity of the person. In Romans 7:14-25 the “I” can probably called the “self” and delights in the Law of God kata ton esō anthrōpon and the latter is here the equivalent of nous. According to Paul the renewal of man is central for his anthropology which constitutes a part of his Christological eschatology. This transformative principle brings an aspect of eschaton into the present human existence.