2015 Paul

Session 1

Benjamin Petroelje (University of Edinburgh)

Framing Douglas Campbell's 'Ephesians': Questions and Implications

In his new book Framing Paul: An Epistolary Biography, Douglas Campbell argues for ten authentic letters of Paul (excluding 1-2 Timothy and Titus), using only epistolary data and refusing evidence from Acts. With the book only recently published, it is too soon to know how Campbell's argument will be received. One proposal, however, is likely to be met with widespread scepticism: the authenticity of 'Ephesians' as the letter to the Laodiceans mentioned in Colossians 4:16, written in the year prior to the bulk of Paul's epistolary correspondence (1-2 Corinthians; Galatians; Philippians; and Romans).

Campbell's designation of 'Ephesians' as Laodiceans is rare, but not unheard of; his loca- tion of Laodiceans as one of Paul's earliest letters, however, is (so far as I can tell) unattested in the scholarly tradition. Prior scholarship on Ephesians, whether defending authenticity or inauthenticity, has almost universally seen Ephesians as a development within or away from Paul (M. Barth; R. Schnackenburg; A. Lincoln; E. Best). Work on earliest Christianity, likewise, has frequently utilized Ephesians as a source for the development of Christianity in the late first century (E. Käsemann; M. Y. MacDonald). Given the dearth of historical information that the letter provides, such interpretations are based on conjectured locations which have, to this point, always been late, either within or without Paul's lifetime. By locating 'Ephesians' early, Campbell invites scrutiny of a new hypothesis. If 'Ephesians' were early, we could no longer appeal to development to ex- plain the letter's purported theological differences with the undisputed Paulines, and it would be lost as a source for post-Pauline Christianity. This paper, then, tests 'Ephesians' in this new space: first by subjecting Campbell's argument to sustained questioning before turning to potential implications of an early 'Ephesians' for the study of Paul and reconstructions of earliest Christianity. 

 

Carey C. Newman (Baylor University)

Narrative Apocalyptic in Ephesians: The Reception of Paul’s Covenant and Cosmic Theologies

This paper uses Ephesians as a test case for the way Paul’s covenant and cosmic theologies were received.  It suggests that Paul’s narrative of Israel implicitly informed the letter, while Paul’s apocalyptic became explicit, guiding the rhetoric of the letter.  As such, Ephesians reconciles the tension between narrative and apocalyptic, covenant and cosmic.

Session 2

Esau McCaulley (University of St Andrews)

The cross, the curse, the cleansing of the land: Paul’s interconnected use of scripture in Galatians 3:10-14

The debate surrounding the curse in Galatians 3:10–14 often focuses on whether Paul used Deuteronomy 27:26 to refer to the individual curse contained therein or the national curses of Deuteronomy 27–30. This paper argues that focus on Deuteronomy 27:26, in isolation from Paul’s use of Habakkuk 2:4, Leviticus 18:5, and Deuteronomy 21:23, caused scholars to neglect the lexical and thematic elements that linked these passages. Missing these connections led to a failure to recognize Paul’s focus on national curses. This work addresses that neglect by considering the interpretive import of the relationship between Deuteronomy 27:26 and Habakkuk 2:4 before considering how links between Deuteronomy 27:26, 21:23, and Leviticus 18:5 betray a focus on the national curses.

A review of the contexts of Deuteronomy 27:26 and Habakkuk 2:4 reveal that they contain the only commands in the Jewish scriptures to write σαφῶς: the law during the renewal ceremony and Habakkuk’s vision (Deuteronomy 27:8; Habakkuk 2:2). I will show that Paul used this and other connections to present the Galatians with two options: a return to the national curses announced and written in stone during the renewal ceremony (Deuteronomy 27–30) or an embrace of Habakkuk’s vision that the just will live by faith.

Many note Paul’s use of ἐπικατάρατος in Gal 3:13 to argue that Jesus’ death, seen through the lens of Deuteronomy 21:23, removed the ἐπικατάρατος of Deuteronomy 27:26. Few recognized that Deuteronomy 21:23 also addressed land defilement: οὐ μιανεῖτε τὴν γῆν. Leviticus 18:24-30 claimed that failure to do the law would ἐμιάνθη ἡ γῆ and lead to exile. I will aver that Paul used Deuteronomy 21:23 to claim that Jesus’ death removed the curses of Deuteronomy 27–30 and the defilement of Leviticus 18:24–30. Therefore, Paul used Deuteronomy 27–30, Leviticus 18:1–30, and Deuteronomy 21:23 in concert to highlight national failure and Jesus’ redemptive activity. Thus, the connections between the texts Paul used do exhibit a sustained emphasis on national curses and Jesus’ redeeming response.

 

Bruce Hansen (University of Leuven)

The Logic of Paul’s Non-contradiction in Gal 3:10

The apparent contradiction between Paul's assertion in Gal 3:10a, "As many as are of works of law are under a curse" and the citation of Dt 27:26 he claims as support in Gal 3:10b, "Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all that is written in the book of the law to do them" has occasioned scholarly debate, creativity and even despair of ever following Paul's reasoning. This paper examines the grammar and logic of Paul's argument to propose that there is no logical contradiction between the two halves of this verse nor is there a need to propose an assumed premise or an ideological framework to resolve that supposed tension. Rather, this reading argues that "as many as are of works of law" (hosoi . . . ex ergōn nomou) identifies a known faction within the nascent churches. Paul stigmatizes this group in contrast to the blessed ones of faith (hoi ek pisteōs). Furthermore, if this "works of law" faction does not in fact comply with everything written in the law, as Paul's Dt citation stipulates, then there is no inherent contradiction in Gal 3:10. This reading depends on identifying Paul's construction of the article + the preposition ek + a genitive substantive as being a group label and not a universal principle, as it is typically read. The standard lexicon (BDAG) identifies this prepositional construction as "the partisan ek." The interpretation pursued on this basis construes Gal 3:10-14 as a continuation of the argument begun in 2:14-21 and fully coherent within that context.

 

Session 3

LXX Psalm 109.1 and the Tetragrammaton

It has become a scholarly commonplace, however much debates continue over which texts attest to the phenomenon, that Jesus of Nazareth, sometime after his execution, began to be read into LXX texts which spoke of the κύριος when κύριος was clearly standing in as the Greek substitute for the tetragrammaton יהוה. This astonishing christological phenomenon was likely the impetus behind what is arguably the most astonishing christological text in the entire New Testament: 1 Corinthians 8.6. It has been argued by many that, not just in Paul generally but in 1 Corinthians 8.6 particularly, prayerfully, and liturgically, Jesus of Nazareth is referred to as κύριος when it appears that κύριος is standing in as the Greek substitute for the tetragrammaton of the Shema itself. It is incontrovertible that this text, and the christological phenomenon to which it supremely attests, represents one of the most striking and unique features of early Christian and particularly Pauline christology.

However, although many are convinced that Jesus is sometimes referred to as κύριος when κύριος is standing in for the tetragrammaton, have we any idea why this development might have taken place? On the basis of an exegesis of Philippians 2.9-11 and Ephesians 2.20-22 (even if both are un-Pauline), with ancillary evidence from Mark 12.35-7, I contend that because the early Christians believed that Jesus had, after his crucifixion and subsequent resurrection, been exalted to God’s right hand à la Psalm 110 (LXX Psalm 109), they were able to exploit LXX Psalm 109.1 wherein God, who is referred to as κύριος, also refers to the putative messianic king as κύριος. This makes the early Christian exploitation of LXX Psalm 109.1, and the belief in Jesus’ heavenly enthronement upon which it is based, one of the most significant developments in early christology. 

 

Andy Byers (Durham University)

Oneness as Social Unity or the Ecclesiology of Christological Monotheism? The Shema and Social Identity Construction in 1 Corinthians

Paul's innovative reinterpretation of the Shema in 1 Corinthians is not limited to the Christological formula deployed in his discussion on idol-meat (8:6). The Jewish theological convictions associated with Deuteronomy 6:4 are stretched to include not only the divine identity of Jesus, but also the (divine?) social reality of the Corinthian Christians. The language of the "one" bread of the "one" ecclesial body indwelled by the "one" Spirit in 1 Corinthians 10 and 12 is drawn from Paul's Christological reconfiguration of the Shema in chapter 8. Though the ecclesial oneness of the body language 1 Corinthians 12 is often understood as directly sourced in Greco-Roman concordia discourse, Paul is grounding the group identity of the Corinthian church (comprising a considerable number of Gentiles) within Jewish theological categories. Just as other early Jewish writers could use the oneness language of Jewish monotheism for group identity construction (e.g., Josephus, Philo, the fourth evangelist, the author of 2 Baruch, et. al.), Paul writes with the conviction that the people of the one God are in some way expressive of his divine oneness. The Pauline imagery of the church as "one body" connotes more than a call to unity or concord; more significantly, the apostle is affirming the Corinthian believers’ resocialization into an ecclesiology of Christological monotheism. As a community in Christ, they are collective representatives (and perhaps divinized participants) in the oneness of Israel's God.

 

Crispin Fletcher-Louis

Harpagmos Revisited: Phil 2:6–11 and the Christian vision of (divine) identity

This paper re-examines the near-consensus view that in Phil 2:6 Christ regards equality with God a thing not to be taken advantage of (so R. Hoover and N. T. Wright). It is argued that, on the contrary and especially in view of the polemic against the pagan ruler cult that runs through 2:6–11, it must be that verse 6 says that Christ discerned rightly that equality with God is not to be aggressively seized. However, it is also argued that verse 6 does not express a res rapienda view of divine equality. Recent work on first century Roman religious and political culture opens up a new way of reading the hymn and its profound poetic ambiguities. Insofar as “equality with God” is a matter of a unique divine identity, it is something Christ has in pre-existence. Insofar as “equality with God” is a status (and therefore something that is dependent on public recognition) it is something that Christ only receives at his exaltation (vv. 9–11). As a result of his resurrection and exaltation Christ becomes in the public sphere, what he always was in heavenly pre-existence. So the hymn is a direct challenge to the pagan assumption that “being is being seen” (cf. Barton, Roman Honor). It celebrates a new revelation, in Christ, of divine (and human) ontology; of identity.