Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Sanders' overview of Paul 2

I think in part because I have no real reason to read it, I'm finding myself reading E. P. Sanders new summative book on Paul in the gaps in my time. Another reason is that it is so light on the eyes. Yes, it's over 800 pages, but it's such an easy read (not like that torturer, N. T. Wright).

So I read the overview of Paul's life during lunch. Here's some highlights:
  • Paul's was not from a rich or poor family. He was not a common laborer but not super-schooled either. Maybe his dad owned a small leather-working business.
  • Smiled at this: "The revelatory experience that changed his life seems not to have altered his character and personality" (5). :-)
  • May have died about AD62 (that would mean at the end of Acts). Sanders says that "most scholars" think this. :-) He's open to the possibility of a release after he first saw Nero.
  • He makes it clear that Paul may not have won his arguments with Jerusalem at the time. I agree.
  • This sentence was interesting (reminded me of Paula Fredriksen's recent article): "Paul argued vociferously that his converts could remain gentiles, though they had to accept Jewish monotheism and most aspects of Jewish ethics" (9).
  • He ends by justifying two conventions he uses in his book. First, he's going to call the followers of Jesus "Christians" even though they largely didn't call themselves by this name at first.
  • Second, he dismisses the rumor that the word Palestine was invented by Hadrian as a term of derision. In his typical matter of fact way, he says, "These terms are historical and have no reference to the modern world" (11). "Palestine" is at least as old as Herodotus. Aristotle uses it. It has nothing to do with contemporary arguments over Palestinian legitimacy. 
  • Again I say, it's good to be retired! :-)

No comments: