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Divine and Human Agency in Paul and His Cultural Environment
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Divine and Human Agency in Paul and His Cultural Environment

by ,

T&T Clark 2008

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Since the work of E.P. Sanders, most modern approaches to the question of divine and human agency have focused on social or sociological aspects of the issue (particularly in relation to Paul’s temporary social and religious settings mission to the Gentiles). However, the last few years have seen an increasing willingness to open up questions seemingly ’settled’ in the New Perspective, and a renewed desire to examine the structures of theology concerning grace and human action both in Paul and in his contemporary Judaism.

It seems now worthwhile to examine to what extent there was an internal debate within Judaism about divine grace and its relation to human agency, and whether this debate could or did spawn various more or less radical solutions. The aim of this volume is to re-examine Paul within contemporary Jewish debate on this topic, attuned to the significant theological issues he raises without imposing upon him the frameworks developed in later Christian thought.

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Looking for more divine sovereignty and human agency? check out the Texts and Studies in Reformation and Post-Reformation Thought series.

Key Features

  • Re-evaluates the conclusion of the New Perspective on Paul
  • Places Paul’s thought in his contemporary social and religious setting
  • Zooms in on the question of divine versus human agency in light of modern research

Contents and Contributors

  • “Inner-Jewish Debate on the Tension between Divine and Human Agency in Second-Temple Judaism” by Gabriele Boccaccin
  • “Predestination and Free Will in the Theology of the Dead Sea Scrolls” by Philip Alexander
  • “The Tension between God’s Command and Israel’s Obedience as Reflected in the Early Rabbinic Literature” by Friedrich Avemarie
  • “Paul’s Anthropological 'Pessimism' in its Jewish Context” by Stephen Westerholm
  • “Constructing an Antithesis: Pauline and other Jewish Perspectives on Divine and Human Agency” by Francis Watson
  • “Self-sufficiency and Power: Divine and Human Agency in Epictetus and Paul” by Troels Engberg-Pedersen
  • “‘By the Grace of God I am what I am’: Grace and Agency in Philo and Paul” by John Barclay
  • “Sin in God’s Economy: Agencies in Romans 1 and 7” by Simon Gathercole
  • “Epilogue: An Essay in Pauline Meta-ethics” by J. Louis Martyn

Praise for the Print Edition

This book’s strength rests in the mature reflection of seasoned scholars, who provide even-handed conclusions and avoid unnecessary speculation. The broad coverage of texts makes this work a valuable addition to researchers working within Pauline studies, as well as theological studies within the fields of soteriology and theological anthropology.

—J. Brian Tucker, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

These are all fascinating and thought-provoking contributions, and serve to highlight the fact that the issue of the interaction of divine and human agency was of considerable importance to both Paul and other contemporaneous writers.

—Gary W. Burnett, Journal for the Study of the New Testament

Product Details

  • Title: Divine and Human Agency in Paul and his Cultural Environment
  • Editor: John Barclay and Simon Gathercole
  • Series: The Library of New Testament Studies (LNTS)
  • Publisher: T & T Clark
  • Publication Date: 2007
  • Pages: 224
  • Christian Group: Evangelicals
  • Resource Type: Collected Essays
  • Topic: Pauline Studies

About the Editors

Simon Gathercole Simon Gathercole is senior lecturer in New Testament studies in the faculty of divinity of the University of Cambridge and fellow and director of studies in theology at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. A leading British New Testament scholar, he has written hundreds of articles and several groundbreaking volumes, including The Preexistent Son: Recovering the Christologies of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Where Is Boasting?: Early Jewish Soteriology and Paul’s Response in Romans 1–5, Heaven on Earth: The Temple in Biblical Theology, and Defending Substitution: An Essay on Atonement in Paul.

John Barclay is Lightfoot Professor of Divinity at the University of Durham, succeeding the position held by James D.G. Dunn. He is the author of Jews in the Mediterranean Diaspora, Paul and the Gift, Negotiating Diaspora: Jewish Strategies in the Roman Empire, and Colossians and Philemon, part of the T & T Clark Bible Guides Collection.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition