Paul and the Hermeneutics of Faith

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9780567082329: Paul and the Hermeneutics of Faith

In recent years, scholars from both Christian and Jewish backgrounds have tried to rethink the relationship between earliest Christianity and its Jewish milieu; and Paul has emerged as a central figure in this debate. The present book contributes to this scholarly discussion by seeing Paul and his Jewish contemporaries as, above all, readers of scripture. However different the conclusions they draw, they all endeavour to make sense of the same normative scriptural texts - in the belief that, as they interpret the scriptural texts, the texts will themselves interpret and illuminate the world of contemporary experience. In that sense, Paul and his contemporaries are standing on common ground. Far from relativizing their differences, however, it is this common ground that makes such differences possible. This book seeks to show how three distinct bodies of literature in fact constitute a single intertextual field. It is therefore necessary to dismantle artificial scholarly boundaries between the Pauline letters, other extant Jewish writings of the period, and the scriptural texts themselves. The method adopted is to set a Pauline and a non-Pauline reading of a scriptural text alongside one another, to compare the ways in which the different readings seek to realize the semantic potential of the scriptural text, and to construct communal identity on that basis. Contrary to the view that these early readers merely impose their own pre-existing viewpoints on the scriptural texts, it becomes clear that they are profoundly engaged in fundamental hermeneutical issues.

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About the Author:

Francis Watson is Professor in the Department of Theology and Religion, University of Durham and was formerly a holder of the Kirby Laing Chair of New Testament Exegesis in the University of Aberdeen (1999-2007), as well as a Reader in Biblical Theology, King's College London. Previous publications include: Paul, Judaism and the Gentiles, Text, Church and World, Text and Truth and Agape, Eros, Gender.

Review:

'This is a good, perhaps even an important, book...clearly written, not a word too brief and as much a historical as a theological exercise.' (The Revd. Dr Wickham Church Times)

' This is a truly monumental study; it will not fail to leave its mark on Pauline studies for a long time to come.' International Review of Biblical Studies, vol 51, 2004/05

"While acknowledging the new perspective's achievements, W. proposes a different derivation for the pivotal elements of Paul's gospel and hence a different reckoning of his stance vis-a-vis his ancestral traditions... W.'s massive and though-provoking study, copiously documented and including an extensive bibliography and helpful indexes, should be considered by all Pauline scholars."- Barry S. Crawford, Vol. 68, 2006 (Catholic Biblical Quarterly)

'It is refreshing to find a New Testament scholar seriously engaging the texts of the Hebrew Bible and extracted Jewish texts as well. Moreover, one must salute him for his treatment of Paul as a Jew engaged in a contest with other Jews, both Cristian and non-Christian, in a struggle to secure the legitimacy of his scriptual interpretation. ...this work is provocative, important, and may be lasting.' - Calvin J. Roetzel, Biblica (Calvin J. Roetzel)

"Francis Watson has opened an imaginative and fresh perspective on Paul as an interpreter of scripture. He's not the first in this field, of course, and the author expresses his debt to Richard Hayes whose Echoes of Scripture located the heart of Paul's theology in his interpretation of scripture, though Watson surveys the field at much greater length. The greater length is needed to examine not just the scriptural texts and Paul's interpretation of them, but also — and herein lies the originality of the book — readings of the same texts by other more or less contemporary Jewish writers."
Geoffrey Turner, Heythrop Journal

"Francis Watson has plugged a gap in Paul studies and...has paved the way for an approach to understanding Paul as Paul himself would wish to be understood."
-Dane Ortlund, Presbyterion, Vol. 36, 2010

'This is a good, perhaps even an important, book...clearly written, not a word too brief and as much a historical as a theological exercise.' (Sanford Lakoff Church Times)

'It is refreshing to find a New Testament scholar seriously engaging the texts of the Hebrew Bible and extracted Jewish texts as well. Moreover, one must salute him for his treatment of Paul as a Jew engaged in a contest with other Jews, both Cristian and non-Christian, in a struggle to secure the legitimacy of his scriptual interpretation. ...this work is provocative, important, and may be lasting.' - Calvin J. Roetzel, Biblica (Sanford Lakoff)

“Francis Watson has opened an imaginative and fresh perspective on Paul as an interpreter of scripture. He’s not the first in this field, of course, and the author expresses his debt to Richard Hayes whose Echoes of Scripture located the heart of Paul’s theology in his interpretation of scripture, though Watson surveys the field at much greater length. The greater length is needed to examine not just the scriptural texts and Paul’s interpretation of them, but also – and herein lies the originality of the book – readings of the same texts by other more or less contemporary Jewish writers.”
Geoffrey Turner, Heythrop Journal

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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