REL275 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Misogyny, Sadducees, Pharisees

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7 Feb 2016
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RELS275 Introduction to Paul’s Letters
10 September
This course will focus on looking at Paul in his own context. We will look
at Paul within Judaism. Though someone who has had a revelation of
Christ, he is still part of his ancestral tradition. Though focusing on
situating Paul in his 'rst century context, we will also be looking at him
from di*erent points of view.
Questions:
1. What are the contexts Paul is in? (Political, Social, Cultural)
a. Roman Empire, 1st Century, Greek and Jewish culture
2. Why do you think it is important to talk about Paul in his context?
a. Because they are letters, there needs to be some context. Context is key.
Anything taken out of context can be a pretext for anything.
The 'rst century was characterized by Greek cultural and Roman
political rule. Paul was living in his Jewish faith, within this context.
Paul
We first encounter this person when we hear about Saul in the book of Acts. (In
the so-calledNew Testament, the historical account of what happened after
Jesus ascended). Why do we say it is the so-calledNew Testament? Because
that language developed later, it was not used in the 1st century. When being
referred to in Hebrew, Pauls name is Shaul. In Greek, Pauolus. When presented
to his own ethnic group, Saul or Shaul.
Saul is a persecutor of the newly formed group of Christ followers. A period of
time in about 40 CE. Jesus probably died in year 34 CE. So about a decade after,
Paul gets news of these people who follow someone crucified, and they call him
the Christ or Messiah.
Christ is the Greek rendering of the Hebrew word Messiah. Christ, the one who
will deliver the people from bondage, especially chosen, anointed by God.
Acts of the Apostles
Book of Acts (1) presents theological history. Aims to convince readers
that God is doing something. Numbers are probably inflated. (2) In antiquity,
when you see dialogues between historical characters, having conversation in
inner chambers, kings room, and you think how would they know this, they
probably made it up based on characters. Put words in the mouths of different
people. Author probably put words in his mouth based on his own analysis. You
should give precedence to what Paul says in his own letters, rather than what the
author accounts in Act. The whole thing is constructed to make a point.
But do not look at ancient history and think that they are lying to us. When
you look at American history, it was written by white males. When you see in the
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