Jesus and Paul : the realization of the grace of God in the lives of outcasts and sinners
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The purpose of the study is to advance the question of Paul's relationship to the historical Jesus by going beyond a mere paralleling of texts and by concentrating on the genuinely theological themes that join them. In contrast to the "new hermeneutic", and Eberhard Jungel in particular, the method of enquiry will emphasize events that speak rather than "speech-events" (Sprachereignisse) . The central thesis suggests that Jesus and Paul are related on an essentially theo-logical level. That is, they realized God, both in their perception and experience, as one who offered grace and reconciliation to the outcasts and sinners of their day. It is proposed that Jesus' deliberate table-fellowship with toll collectors and sinners revealed such a theology. It is further suggested that this fresh vision of God emboldened the Hellenists, and eventually the Apostle Paul, to welcome uncircumcised Gentiles as equal members of the people of God. Paul's violent persecution of the Hellenists was short-lived, for on the Damascus road he too experienced the God who justifies the ungodly. And finally it was postulated that the experience of the Spirit among the Gentiles served as evidentiary proof that God was indeed open to outsiders. Egalitarianism and mutual acceptance was to be the norm for the church. Thus the goal of the dissertation is to argue that the theological continuity expressed above is not due to mere coincidence, but is traceable to the deeds and words of the historical Jesus.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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