Thursday, April 16, 2009

Daniel Kirk is Resurrecting Paul

Daniel Kirk, full time professor part time pancakier, is starting a new book project and he wants your help.  Daniel's project seeks to grapple with why so many people love Jesus but have a hard time with Paul?  He posses the following questions:

"Is there an exegetically sound approach to Paul that paints a different picture of the apostle than the one some Christians find distasteful, offensive, etc.? I think that there's a solid "Yes" to that question, but I need to make sure that the particular answers I give are directed at real-life concerns."
Well I am note sure how "real life" my concerns are, but my personal top 2 'problems' I have with Paul are as follows:

1. Paul and Power:  This is a complex set of ideas that has to do with popular representations of how Paul treats the government of his day, how he thinks of women and homosexuals, and our modern tendencies to use Paul to say what 'we' want, albeit under the guise of being exegetically sound. I imagine these issues all surround the 'politics of power' and the authority we place on texts and are questions that ought to be addressed in any enterprise trying to rescue Paul for the non-specialist.

2. Paul's Inconsistencies:  What I mean by this can probably best be expressed by a series of questions: Are Paul's letters timeless theological tracts, occasional, or some sort of mixture? Did/could Paul develop as a thinker? If so how do we determine his final conclusions on a topic?  Why in so many of todays debates can we read Paul against Paul ?  I imagine that most of the issues people react against are due to problems we have in the harmonizing of Paul's letters into a Pauline theology which often tells us more about the contemporary author, than it does about Paul.

Just for fun, I think Daniel  ought to construct a book about Jesus (perhaps the 2nd volume) that unmasks why people love Jesus so much.  Most of the reasons for a popular love of Jesus over Paul is that people probably don't get how subversive Jesus really is/was.

Sounds like a fun project, good luck Daniel!

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