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Derhetorizing Paul: A Dynamic Perspective on Pauline Theology and the Law
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Derhetorizing Paul: A Dynamic Perspective on Pauline Theology and the Law


Mohr Siebeck 2000

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Gathering Interest


In 1 Thessalonians 1:8 Paul claims: “In every place your faith toward God has gone forth, so that we have no need to speak a word.” We can smile at a call to stop missionary activity based on that verse. Lauri Thurén argues that Paul and his original addressees would smile at us for the very same reason, were they aware of many of the problems of modern Pauline scholarship. Expressions, which were never meant to be taken at their face value, may have promoted sophisticated but erroneous theological and historical reflections. This is due not only to the scholars’ ignorance of ancient rhetorical and epistolary conventions, but also to their static attitude to the text itself.

Lauri Thurén offers a different study which is based on a natural, dynamic view of Paul’s letters. In order to describe any theology beyond the texts, they need to be derhetorized. This means an identification of the persuasive devices in Pauline texts in order to filter out their effect on the theological ideas expressed. This principle is applied to a controversial issue in Pauline theology, the question of law. Lauri Thurén claims that Paul’s exaggerated statements correspond to his hyperbolic way of thinking. His search for consistency in the Old Testament was a major reason for his revolt against the law.

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Key Features

  • Distinguish the rhetoric of Paul from the theology of Paul
  • Presents contemporary views on Paul’s thought and theology
  • Argues Paul sought for a greater consistency in Old Testament interpretation


  • Part I: The Dynamics of Paul’s Writings
    • Toward a Sensible Interpretation of Paul
    • Was Paul a Theologian?
    • From a Static to a Dynamic View of Paul's Text
    • Was Paul Sincere?
  • Part II: The Law in Paul’s Theology
    • Solutions with Problems
    • The Law in Galatians
    • The Law STrikes Back: Romans and 1 Cor
    • What was Wrong With the Law?
  • Part III: Paul Derhetorized?
    • Summary
    • Concluding Remarks on the Dynamic Perspective

Product Details

  • Title: Derhetorizing Paul: A Dynamic Perspective on Pauline Theology and the Law
  • Author: Lauri Thurén
  • Series: Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament (WUNT)
  • Publisher: Mohr Siebeck
  • Publication Date: 2000
  • Pages: 213
  • Resource Type: Monograph
  • Topic: Pauline Studies

About Lauri Thurén

Lauri Thurén is a senior research fellow at the Academy of Finland in Helsinki.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition