Paul on Grace and Some Reading Suggestions

Picking up on themes explored in Campbell's The Deliverance of God, but without direct reference to it, take a look at these speculations about Paul's understanding of grace.

And some interesting looking reading material:

Allen Brent, A Political History of Early Christianity

Blurbs include:

‘Allen
Brent’s Political History of Early Christianity is breath-taking and
ground-breaking. He argues that the Jesus Movement, from its earliest
days until it blossomed into the officially sanctioned Christianity of
the Roman Empire under Constantine at the start of the fourth century,
was inextricably linked to and in tension with the political concerns
of wider culture. However, Brent demonstrates that this does not reduce
Jesus and the movement that evolved in his name to a group of mere
social revolutionaries. Rather, the value-inverting and world-negating
philosophy they espoused stemmed from deep-seated apocalyptic beliefs.
Brent is master of four centuries of Christian history and deploys this
knowledge to build a case that is convincing and compelling. A
first-rate book from a first rate-scholar.’ – Paul Foster, University
of Edinburgh, UK.

Five Stones and a Sling
Memoirs of a Biblical Scholar
Michael Goulder

Michael
Goulder is a scholar who has always taken an original approach to the
Bible and biblical criticism. He has developed five major theories,
which challenged received opinion among the learned; and the book tells
the story of how these ‘stones’ fared when confronting the biblical
establishment. He wryly admits that his slinging has been rather less
successful than David's against Goliath.

Among his five theories
a special place must be given to his demonstration of how much of the
teaching ascribed to Jesus actually derived from the evangelists—the
Lord's Prayer for example being composed by Matthew out of Jesus'
prayers in Gethsemane. The parables too are the composition of the
evangelists, Matthew characteristically writing of kings and rich
merchants, while Luke speaks of women, stewards, a beggar and a
Samaritan. A long-rooted error Michael Goulder has valiantly opposed
has been the belief that Matthew and Luke were both dependent on a lost
source, Q; in fact, he argues, Luke was familiar with Matthew's Gospel
and copied or developed its teaching as he thought best.

Goulder
has worked at the Old Testament as well as the New. He concludes that
the Psalms were not the individual prayers of pious Israelites, as
Gunkel and others supposed, but the compositions of kings or their
poets, deploring national disasters and praying for blessing at the
great autumn festival.

This account of Goulder's scholarly work
is fascinatingly interwoven with that of his life and ministry; and
there are many anecdotes and vignettes of other people that are both
amusing and interesting. He was ordained a priest in the Anglican
Church, and though he resigned his Orders in 1981, he never lost his
love of the Bible.

Michael Goulder was Professor of Biblical Studies at the University of Birmingham prior to his retirement in 1994.

978-1-906055-84-4 paperback
Publication November 2009 (not yet published) – HT: Mark

And courtesy of Joel Willitts over at Euangelion

The friendship of Matthew and Paul: A response to a recent trend in the interpretation of Matthew’s Gospel

Author: Joel Willitts

David
Sim has argued that Matthew’s so-called Great Commission (Mt 28:16–20)
represents a direct anti-Pauline polemic. While this thesis may be
theoretically possible and perhaps fits within the perspective of an
earlier era in New Testament research, namely that of the Tübingen
School, the evidence in both Matthew and the Pauline corpus does not
support such a reading of early Christianity. In this paper, I argue
that an antithetical relationship between Matthew’s Great Commission
and Paul’s Gentile mission as reflected in his epistles is possible
only (1) with a certain reading of Matthew and (2) with a caricature of
Paul. In light of the most recent research on both Matthew’s Great
Commission and the historical Paul, these two traditions can be seen as
harmonious and not antithetical in spite of the recent arguments to the
contrary. My argument provides a further corrective to the view of
early Christianity, which posits a deep schism between so-called Jewish
Christianity and Paul’s ostensibly Law-free mission to the Gentiles.

You can find the article here at HTS.