Paul among the apocalypses? : an evaluation of the 'apocalyptic Paul' in the context of Jewish and Christian apocalyptic literature
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One of the most lively and enduring debates in New Testament studies is the question of the significance of ‘apocalyptic’ thought in Paul. This has recently given birth to a group of scholars, with a common theological genealogy, who share a concern to emphasise the ‘apocalyptic’ nature of Paul’s gospel. Leading figures of this group are J. Louis Martyn, Martinus de Boer, Beverly Gaventa and Douglas Campbell. The work of this group has not been received without criticism, drawing fire from various quarters. However, what is often lacking (on both sides) is detailed engagement with the texts of the Jewish and Christian apocalypses. This dissertation attempts to evaluate the ‘apocalyptic Paul’ movement through an examination of its major theological emphases in the light of the Jewish apocalypses 1 Enoch, 4 Ezra, 2 Baruch and the Christian book of Revelation. Placing Paul in this literary and historical context confirms his place as an apocalyptic thinker, but raises important questions about how this is construed in these recent approaches. Each chapter will address one of four interrelated themes: epistemology, eschatology, cosmology and soteriology. The study intends to suggest that the ‘apocalyptic Paul’ movement is characterised at key points in each area by potentially false dichotomies, strict dualisms which unnecessarily screen out what Paul’s apocalyptic thought affirms.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy