This book breaks a significant impasse in much Pauline interpretation today, pushing beyond both Lutheran and “New” perspectives on Paul to a noncontractual, “apocalyptic” reading of many of the apostle’s most famous—and most troublesome—texts. In The Deliverance of God, Douglas Campbell holds that the intrusion of an alien, essentially modern, and theologically unhealthy theoretical construct into the interpretation of Paul has produced an individualistic and contractual construct that shares more with modern political traditions than with either orthodox theology or Paul’s first-century world. In order to counter-act that influence, Campbell argues that it needs to be isolated and brought to the foreground before the interpretation of Paul’s texts begins. When that is done, readings free from this intrusive paradigm become possible and surprising new interpretations unfold.
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If you like this resource be sure to check out Eerdmans Pauline Studies Collection (15 vols.).
“It is the conventional ‘Lutheran’ construal of the arguments of these distinctive texts, leading to an individualist, conditional, and contractual account of the whole notion of salvation, that arguably lies behind some of the most intractable interpretative conundrums in modern Pauline scholarship.” (Page 6)
“Hence, ‘faith’ occurs in two distinguishable senses within Paul’s discussion, denoting two important aspects of Christian existence—right beliefs about God acting in Christ, and faithfulness through suffering, in the sense of patient, hopeful endurance—although it should be noted that the fundamental rationale for both seems to be pneumatological and participatory.” (Page 68)
“‘Faith’ in this sense, then, really refers to the theological journey that Christians are meant to undertake in the light of the Christ event—a journey that begins in the life of the Christian as that event does.” (Page 67)
“When all is said and done, we may find that if our reading of Paul’s forensic texts can be freed from essentially European individualist, rationalist, and conditional presuppositions, they may yet speak in a more radical and liberating way to the conundrums of our own time: to free our reading (to a degree) from our modern culture is also to allow the apostle to address our culture more effectively. Hence, the end result of this process could be a clearer, simpler, and more theologically constructive Paul, along with a rather more christocentric apostolic gospel, and this even if we do not hear that gospel proclaimed so clearly by certain well-known texts.” (Page 8)