Thursday, March 30, 2006

Quotes from Hengel

I've been reading through Martin Hengel, “The Stance of the Apostle Paul Toward the Law in the Unknown Years Between Damascus and Antioch,” in Justification and Variegated Nomism: Volumes 2 – The Paradoxes of Paul (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2004), 75-103, and these are some cool quotes I fished out.

“For him, the encounter with the Resurrected One near Damascus set before him the question of the law or Christ in the form of a soteriological alternative. For Judaism of that time the Torah was in manifold expression the essence of slavaiton, and could be identified with the fundamental religious metaphor, “life”. [m.Abot. 2.7; Avemarie]. Since the opposition between Torah and Jesus of Nazareth had made him into a persecutor, now the relationship between Christ and Torah had to become a fundamental issue, in which the inversion of the opposition immediately because apparent: he, the Resurrected One is zwh& for those who believe (2 Cor 4:11-12; cf. 2:16).” (p. 84) - for a similar view see Terence L. Donaldson, “Zealot and Convert: The Origin of Paul’s Christ-Torah Antithesis,” CBQ 51 (1989): 655-82.

“Why Arabia?” is simple. As the offspring of Israel the “Arabians” were the genealogically and geographically closest physical relatives of Israel among the “Gentiles,” since they, too, were descendents of Abraham. The offspring of Esau, the Edomites, had already become Jews under Hyrcanus and were no longer “Gentiles”. (p. 89).

“Had the earliest church in Jerusalem not recognized the Pauline mission to the Gentiles, with its particular criticism of the law, the apostle would have “run in vain,” i.e. he could not have continued it (Gal 2:2). The perspective frequently adopted today, that earliest Christianity displayed an unbridled diversity, stand in contradiction not only to the statement of Paul (1 Cor 15:11), to his remarkable attachment to Jerusalem in his later period when his connection to Antioch become looser, but also the unity of the church in the entirely of the first and second centuries, which the New Testament and post-apostolic literature attests.” (pp. 95-96).

1 comment:

James Crossley said...

There is one major problem with Hengel's view of the Law in the 30s: there is no serious evidence that the first Christians or even Paul thought in the way Hengel says. Hengel's argument still reads like the old 'law' vs 'gospel' of later Christian thought.