Solidarity and Difference: A Contemporary Reading of Paul's Ethics

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9780567083340: Solidarity and Difference: A Contemporary Reading of Paul's Ethics
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This book presents a wide-ranging study of Pauline ethics, examining how Paul's moral discourse envisages and constructs communities in which there is a strong sense of solidarity but also legitimate difference in various aspects of ethical practice. Unlike many books on New Testament ethics, this work reads New Testament texts with an explicit awareness of contemporary ethical theory, and attempts to assess Paul's contribution as a moral thinker in the context of modern debate.

The contents include a survey of the variety of approaches to understanding Pauline ethics and of the contemporary liberal-communitarian debate. Using a framework indebted to the social sciences, as well as to contemporary ethical theory, various chapters go on to examine the construction of community in Paul's letters, the notions of purity, boundaries and identity, Paul's attempts to deal with diversity in his churches, the role of imitating Christ in Paul's ethics, and the ethic Paul develops for interaction with 'outsiders'. Finally, the pattern of Paul's moral thinking is considered in relation to the liberal-communitarian debate, with explicit consideration given to the central moral norms of Pauline thought, and the prospects for, and problems with, appropriating these in the contemporary world. It is argued that, while Paul's ethics raise problems which prevent their easy application today, by thinking with, beyond, and sometimes against Paul, we can find in his letters valuable resources for the pressing moral tasks that confront us.

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About the Author:

David G. Horrell is Professor of New Testament Studiesat the University of Exeter, UK. He is the author of several books, includingAn Introduction to the Study of Paul (T&T Clark, Second Edition 2006) and Solidarity and Difference (T&T Clark, 2005). He was the editor of the Journal for the Study of the New Testament from 2002-2007. He is an active member of the British New Testament Society, having chaired the Social World of the New Testament Seminar from 2001-2006, andis also a member of the Society for Biblical Literature (SBL) and Society for New Testament Studies (SNTS). He completed his PhD at Cambridgeon Paul's Corinthian letters and the letter known as 1 Clement.

Review:

'David Horrell's nuanced study significantly advances the conversation about Pauline ethics. Engaging in patient and respectful dialogue with a variety of scholarly viewpoints, Horrell depicts a Paul whose deepest moral commitments focus on community solidarity and other-regard, as defined by the pattern of Christ's self-giving death. His judicious exegesis shows that Paul's ethics cannot be boxed in to either a "communitarian" or a "liberal" perspective; thus, Horrell's reading of Paul offers a mediating voice that suggests a way beyond certain impasses in contemporary ethical debate. At the same time, the book shows how social-scientific analysis of Paul's letters can be brought into fruitful engagement with theological exegesis. Anyone who reads Horrell's richly synthetic work, therefore, will be challenged to think more precisely about matters of central importance.' Richard B. Hays, George Washington Ivey Professor of New Testament, The Divinity School, Duke University, USA.

'Horrell's two-way conversation between contemporary ethics and Paul fills a gaping hole; and fills it beautifully. For those who take their lives seriously in our complex global society, this book is too important to be missed.' Ann Jervis, Associate Professor of New Testament, Wycliffe College, Toronto.

'David Horrell has put us all in his debt with this careful, but penetrating study. Ethics is too often a neglected element in the study of Paul, but Horrell shows how these key issues of solidarity and other-regard for difference lie at the heart of Paul's theology and his entire mission. Furthermore, in relating them to the current debate about liberals and communitarians, Horrell has produced a thorough-going account which is as relevant for today as it is exciting to read. Not only will this book be essential reading for both ethicists and New Testament scholars, I hope it will also provoke greater debate and dialogue between the disciplines.' The Reverend Dr Richard A Burridge, Dean of King's College London, UK.

'D.G.Horell discovers in his new book three basic values underlying the moral world of Paul: corporate solidarity, difference to other people and other-regard. His results are an important contribution to our understanding of Paul's ethics. He succeeds in locating them in the contemporary ethical debate between liberals and communitarians, i.e. between our search for universal norms and our commitment to the 'local' traditions of our concrete communities. There is much exegetical and moral wisdom in this lucidly written book, a wisdom which avoids simplifications and the peril of modernizing Paul. The Paul we encounter in this book is no eccentric, but a serious moral thinker of Early Christianity wrestling with problems which are not out of date, but which recur again and again in our life.' Gerd Theissen, Professor for New Testament, University of Heidelberg, Germany.

'This book is a real gem! Horrell provides a thoroughly readable, but deeply scholarly, study of Pauline ethics. Particularly valuable are insights provided from the social sciences, together with the way in which Horrell relates Paul's ethics with modern ethical theories. This will be essentialreading for all students of Paul as well as for any wishing to relate the NT to contemporary ethical discussions.' Professor Christopher Tuckett, Pembroke College, Oxford University, UK.



'Horrell provides a masterful analysis of Pauline ethics and successfully elucidates many of the key themes.' 'Solidarity and Difference is an excellent survey of Pauline Ethics that successfully engages Pauline thought with contemporary ethical theory.' - Tom Wilson, The Author (Tom Wilson)

'Horrell provides a masterful analysis of Pauline ethics and successfully elucidates many of the key themes.' 'Solidarity and Difference is an excellent survey of Pauline Ethics that successfully engages Pauline thought with contemporary ethical theory.' - Tom Wilson, The Author (Sanford Lakoff)

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9780567043221: Solidarity and Difference: A Contemporary Reading of Paul's Ethics

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Publisher: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2005
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