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Sorin Sabou

Letter to the Romans, Nicomachean Ethics, and more

Engaging with Wright, N. T. 2013. Paul and the Faithfulness of God. - Overview

This volume on Paul (Wright, 2013) is an event in the New Testament scholarship. N. T. Wright is a very respected scholar, and his writings were an inspiration to me over the years. I plan to write an analysis of his latest volume. Because of the structure of the volume I will split it accordingly (four posts) plus this introductory one. I will discuss his method and his outlook on the whole project and, from time to time, I will pronounce some evaluations.
The volume on Paul is huge and it is best seen in four major parts, as it is itself organized: Paul's World, The Mindset of the Apostle, Paul's Theology, and Paul in History. These will be the labels of my future four posts on this volume.
The long road of reading, understanding and evaluating this volume moves towards the climax of the book which is Part III (Paul's theology). Wright's outlook on this matter is that Paul's theology is controlled by the three main theological themes of monotheism, election, and eschatology as these are reworked in the light of the Messiah and the Spirit (Wright, 2013, k. l. 439).
Paul remains 'decidedly and determinedly a Jewish thinker' (Wright, 2013, k. l. 453). The core beliefs of his Jewish world are radically reinterpreted, and only in this way Paul can sustain his worldview for himself and for the churches he has started. (Wright, 2013, k. l. 459). This reinterpretation is done in the light of the Messiah and the Spirit. The story of the people of God offers the context for 'soteriology' (Wright, 2013, k. l. 466). The summary of this story is that God calls Abraham's family, and rescues them from Egypt. Paul understands this story anew around Jesus and the Spirit, and sees his own vocation, as that of a Jew, to be the bearer of salvation to the rest of the world (Wright, 2013, k. l. 473).
The method use by Wright in his project is that of 'critical realism'. He will not stop at just assembling the 'facts', but he will attempt to make sense of them through forming hypotheses and testing them against the evidence (Wright, 2013, k. l. 506). Wright will not allow to be pushed to choose between diachronic or synchronic approaches. He works mainly with a synchronic pattern which is informed by his extensive diachronic knowledge of the letters of Paul and the countless debates on different aspects in them.
This is an overview of the whole project we started analyzing. The next post will be on Paul's World as understood by N T Wright.
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