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Is it possible for human beings to know anything at all about God? If so, how? Philosophers and theologians have debated these fundamental questions for millennia. In this clearly written book, Ian Scott asks how the apostle Paul answers them. Scott finds that while Paul did not explicitly address questions of epistemology (the branch of philosophy that studies how we know), his epistles imply certain conclusions. After articulating Paul's assumptions about how human beings can move from unbelief to faith through a rational process, Scott assesses the structure of Paul's own claims to knowledge. He finds that for Paul, theological knowledge is about discerning the story of what God is doing and finding one's own place in that story. Originally published by Mohr Siebeck, this valuable work is now available as an affordable North American edition.
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"Ian Scott's examination of the Pauline epistles is driven by a series of fresh questions and informed by recent discussions of epistemology. The result is a host of fresh insights that illuminate both details in the texts and underlying patterns of Paul's thought. Written in an engaging style and with admirable clarity, the monograph represents a significant contribution to our understanding of Paul."--Stephen Westerholm, McMaster University; author, Understanding Paul
"In the third century, Clement of Alexandria discomfited his pagan opponents by pointing out that six centuries of the best Greek philosophy had led only to confusion and despair. Origen responded to Celsus' demand that Christianity submit to Greek proof by pointing out that Christianity was not about thinking one's way up to God. It was not even an idea, but a story about something that happened in Christ. Reason's place was to respond. Today, with the collapse of foundationalism, we too are realizing that history (a narrative of what happened) is all we have. As Ian Scott's excellent, timely, and important study demonstrates, this is precisely Paul's view. His theology and ethics derive from his reasoned attempts to make sense of the intersection of Israel's and Christ's narratives."--Rikk Watts, Regent College
"This well-informed, multi-disciplinary and wide-ranging study is a fascinating exposition of knowledge in Paul's authentic epistles. . . . The study provides a convincing argument that Paul's epistemology is built on a narrative logic that is coherentist rather than foundationalist. . . . The study of Galatians is refreshing and adds much to the understanding of this letter."--Dennis L. Stamps, Journal for the Study of the New Testament
"While some [scholars] have looked closely at Paul's use of rhetoric and tried to piece together the sort of education that he might have had, little attention has been paid to the more subtle underpinnings of his way of thinking. Ian Scott's book fills this gap by studying Paul's epistemology . . . and the ways in which that way of knowing shaped the narrative of salvation that underlies all of Paul's letters. . . . The book is beautifully and clearly written and will be accessible not only to academics but also to senior undergraduates, graduate students, thoughtful Christians, and the educated public as a whole."--Adele Reinhartz, University of Ottawa
Ian W. Scott (Ph.D., McMaster University) is assistant professor of New Testament at Tyndale Seminary in Toronto, Ontario.
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