Voices and Views on Paul: Exploring Scholarly Trends

Ben Witherington III with Jason A. Myers. IVP, $30 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-0-8308-5231-4
Witherington (The Jesus Quest), a professor of bible studies, harmonizes and disrupts historical understandings of the 13th Apostle in this engrossing work. Witherington critiques much of the scholarship on Paul for failing to consult proper Judaic historical sources, the lack of which created a mischaracterized understanding of Paul’s letters. For example, common scholarship claims Paul’s conversion was from “plight to solution (from sin to salvation),” but Witherington conversely sees it as “solution to plight”: “Paul starts with the solution—God has acted in Christ—and then goes on to explain why humanity needed to be saved in this way.” In Witherington’s effort to mediate conflicting perspectives, he doesn’t settle on any one conclusion, but keeps readers wondering which perspective he finds most convincing, while raising consideration of historical, linguistic, temporal, and theological interpretations. Serious students of Paul’s letters will appreciate the variety and contrast of critiques, affirming that the final perspective must be gleaned from one’s views of Paul’s spiritual mind, and not a particular issue. Posing more questions than he answers, Witherington serves up a robust feast of scholarship for academics working in Pauline theology and New Testament studies. (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 05/29/2020
Release date: 08/01/2020
Genre: Religion
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