Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Origin of Paul's Gospel

I have always wondered how to reconcile Gal 1.11-12 ("I did not receive [parelabon] the gospel from humans, neither was I taught it, but through a revelation of Jesus Christ") and 1 Cor 15.3 ("I received [parelabon] as the gospel that Christ died for our sins ..."). In Beginning from Jerusalem(p. 354), Jimmy Dunn offers his own resolution which I find interesting:
"Paul assuredly did not think of his gospel as a different gospel from that agreed upon by Peter, James and John (Gal. 2.2-9); the gospel of 1 Cor. 15.3-4/5 was the gospel which they all preached (1 Cor. 15.11). What was different about Paul's gospel was his conviction that it was open also to Gentiles, that the gospel he received in the tradition handed down to him at the time of his conversion (1 Cor. 15.3) was the message regarding God's Son which he had been commissioned to deliver to the Gentiles (Gal. 1.16). That was why Paul was such an uncomfortable bed fellow with his fellow apostles: he saw himself as first and foremost 'apostle to the Gentiles'; and as far as Paul himself wasa concerned, that had been the case from his commissioning itself."


Galen Bomster said...
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Unknown said...

I believe that the context of each usage needs to be taken into account more. Are you attempting to systematize the theology of "Paul's gospel" or trying to understand more clearly what he is referring to in each specific context--the same thing or something different. Consider how Paul introduces himself in each of the different epistles. I devote two chapters in my forthcoming "Discourse Grammar" to describing the use of overly specific or redundant references to something as a means of (re)characterizing it to better fit the thematic needs of the context. In other words, it makes you think about a particular thing in the particular context in a particular way. The introduction of Galatians is one of the examples I discuss. If you are interested in reading the relevant excerpts, I think the content would be helpful in resolving this issue. I think you need to differentiate the systematization of the term from its referential meaning in each context. They are quite separate questions. You seemed to be focused on the former task in your wine and curry post, not the latter. Properly answering the latter will significantly inform the former, wine or not.

John Thomson said...

Must 'received' in 1 Cor 15 be from the other apostles - especially the Christ died, buried, raised according to the Scriptures texts (vv3,4)? Could the receiving not be from the risen Christ?

How far does Paul teach the other apostles that union with Christ means being dead to sin/world and in particular, the Law?

Galen Bomster said...
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John Thomson said...

Even if this were so (and I guess this is at best scholarly conjecture)may not Paul use a recognised creedal summary of the gospel simply as a definition of the gospel he had received from Christ,the creedal summary implying the ecumenical nature of his 'received' gospel and so further authenticating it.

On the gentile question - I would need to look at the historical sequence more closely, however, Paul is converted in Acts 9 and by Acts 10 Peter is convinced the gospel is also for the gentiles.

In Acts 9 if Paul's visit to Jerusalem corresponds to Galatians 1 then at this time Paul saw only Peter.

By visit fourteen years later the inclusion of the gentiles was established through Peter in Acts 10.

Writing this in middle of night so probably full of holes.

Richard Fellows said...

Certainly Paul is talking in Gal 1:11-12 specifically about the inclusion of Gentiles without circumcision (for that is what the letter is all about). It was this aspect of the gospel that Paul received quite independently of Peter (whose vision is later as John has mentioned: see Acts 10).

Paul and the pillars found themselves to be in agreement (Gal 2:1-10) and this confirms that Peter and Paul had received independent revelations. Dunn seems to assume that Paul and the pillars had quite different views on the inclusion of Gentiles, but I think he is mistaken. See here:

H. S. Ryu said...

Yes. Paul is very spiritual gospel preacher in deed. From the start, he depends on the revelations and visions for his many teachings. Many of his teachings are based on his spiritual experiences in Jesus.