Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Was Paul a Greek, Jew, both, or neither?

I have been reading Perspectives on Paul Old and New:  the "Lutheran" and His Critics, written by the brilliant Stephen Westerholm.

Please, don't let that start to the blog post scare you away.  No, stay!  I really want to hear your thoughts today.

So, anyway, this book basically goes through how different brilliant people understood Paul's words, especially words like justification, works, faith, and grace.  The book is wonderfully enlightening, full of great caveats and nuance.

However, I was reading yesterday the opinions and studies of a guy named Wrede (you Bible students will recognize him).  He established his work on the foundation that Paul believed in concrete powers that were real, personified, being.  In other words, he believed sin was a being, law a being, and love a being (much like the ancient Greeks personified love, war, wisdom, etc.)

This leads me to a crucial question:  Are we to read Paul as a Greek or a Jew?  Who is he?  At his core was he one or the other, or was he both?  or was he neither?  What drove Paul?

Please let me know your thoughts, as it will greatly help me as I continue to look for the best manner to read these sections of the New Testament.


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