CADRE Comments

A Rational Look at Christianity; Basing Reason in Truth

I recently came across a website called ReligionLink: a resource website for religion writers. The page features a large number of links to articles, resources and information related to topics that may be of interest to religion writers. Concurrently, it provides articles, resources and information related to topics that may be of interest to apologists.

For example, while there is no link to a page entitled "apologetics", there are links to topics that can be used for apologetics. Thus, there is a page on the Apostle Paul entitled The Apostle Paul: Saint of the public square. The ReligionLink page discusses the "New Perspective on Paul." According to the page:

Given his prominence in the early Christian movement, Paul, like Jesus himself, has been the focus of renewed scholarly exploration in the past century that has sought to reread his role in light of historical criticism and new discoveries about the Holy Land of the first century. But the so-called New Perspective on Paul, or NPP, a school that seeks a radical reinterpretation of Paul’s letters and theology, was given a boost by the publication of E.P. Sanders’ 1977 book, Paul and Palestinian Judaism. Since then a spate of books has elaborated on this “New Perspectivism” with arguments that often run contrary to accepted views of Paul as the archetypal Protestant who eschewed “works righteousness” and focused on salvation by grace alone. Even Paul’s reputed misogyny and purportedly anti-Jewish writings have come in for critical re-examination. The NPP school is broad, and its participants often disagree. But it continues to produce a great amount of popular and scholarly work on Paul.

For an overview of the New Perspective on Paul, see the Theopedia entry on the New Perspectivism, or NPP, which characterizes the movement as “a system of thought in New Testament scholarship that seeks to reinterpret the Apostle Paul and his letters. In brief, the NPP is a reaction to the Reformation perspective on Paul (i.e. the traditional interpretation of him).” Theopedia is a Wiki-based resource, so its contents should always be double-checked for veracity. Another useful resource is The Paul Page.

The link in this paragraph to The Paul Page led to a page entitled The Paul Page: Dedicated to the New Perspective on Paul. Now, personally, I know very little about this New Perspective. I certainly welcome a re-visitation of the life of Paul if it will help remove the unfounded charges of misogyny and other nasty accusations leveled against him. However, I am fearful that this new movement is simply a variation of the Jesus Seminar.

Still, the information that I glean from these sources will more than allow me to get an overview of the issues linked and give me resources to contact if I get hung up on an issue. ReligionLink is definitely worth a look.

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