A book about the Greek-Roman character of the Letters of Paul.
Translation: Dick Broeren Sr.
Paperback edition ISBN/EAN: 978-90-76783-56-7.
E-book edition ISBN/EAN: 978-90-76783-57-4.
Both editions are for sale at Amazon.com.
Possibly Paul is the most complex biblical author. His letters were written in a complicated colloquial language. His arguments often ramble from one subject to another. The contrasts are almost always black-white: flesh as opposed to spirit, works/actions as opposed to insight of faith, the Law of Moses as opposed to the Law of Christ, slavery as opposed to freedom, etc. How did Paul come to his theology?
There is a romantic image of Paul. He is said to be born in a pious Pharisaic family and educated by the great Pharisaic scholar Gamaliel in Jerusalem. But this is hardly noticeable in Paul’s letters. However, they show a lot of affinity with the Greek-Roman culture of those days. In Volume 1 of Paul’s Youth and Early Years I discussed at some length that this romantic image of Paul’s isn’t correct historically. In reality he came from a Hellenistic-Jewish milieu in the Greek Diaspora.
Moreover, in this second volume (which could be read independently) the author shows that Paul has been very much influenced by Roman culture. Paul is a Roman name! Especially the philosophical movements of Stoicism and Platonism – merged into Middle Platonism – have left their marks on his theology. But also the widespread mystery cults didn’t pass Paul unnoticed. These four phenomena from Paul’s time are explained, whereupon the author examines which traces they left in the letters. Then the image arises of Paul as a child of the Greek-Roman world. At a later age all these influences from his youth and early years have also contributed to the development of his theology. The question whether Paul has preached the doctrine of Jesus of Nazareth unchanged, is mentioned briefly in this book, but will be investigated more exhaustive in a next book.
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