Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Paul and the Stegosaurus

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW: Pauline Paleontology (Matthew Thiessen).
A few concluding words about dinosaurs, fossil remains, and Paul’s letters. Apparently my research interests have broadened from the study of Paul and circumcision to paleontology and dinosaurs. No doubt I have my five-year-old son to thank, since he has appointed me his unpaid research assistant to aid him in his own burgeoning scholarly endeavors as a paleontologist. I have labored, though, to compare Pauline studies to paleontology because I think it beautifully illustrates the real problems we face in the interpretation of Paul’s letters. We simply have very little evidence upon which to base our work. These gaping holes in the Pauline fossil record make it difficult for us to form a consensus with regard to the entire skeleton or structure of Pauline thought: we have Lutheran camps, new perspective camps, radical new perspective camps, apocalyptic camps, and other camps unnamed or uncharted. Such disagreements are long standing and often heated because for many Pauline interpreters we are excavating no mere dinosaur, but, forgive the mixing of metaphors, a sacred cow. ...
Read on at the link for the Stegosaurus. The dinosaur metaphor gets a lot of use in this essay!

This is another essay in AJR's series from the SBL 2016 Pauline Epistles Review Panel. I noted earlier essays in the series here and links. The panel reviewed Matthew Thiessen’s Paul and the Gentile Problem and David Kaden’s Matthew, Paul, and the Anthropology of Law.

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