Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Paul’s Jewish Matrix

To mark the ‘Year of St Paul’ in 2009, the Cardinal Bea Centre for Judaic Studies of the Pontifical Gregorian University, in collaboration with the Pontifical Biblical Institute, the Centre for the Study of Christianity of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Catholic University of Leuven and the Papal Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls, organized an international symposium on the subject of ‘Paul in his Jewish Matrix’. This was held in Rome from 20 to 22 May, 2009, and was attended by scholars from Italy, Israel, the United States and Belgium, both Jews and Christians. The present volume is a collection of most of the papers and lectures presented at the symposium.
-- Thomas G. Casey and Justin Taylor, “Editors’ Foreword,” Paul’s Jewish Matrix, Bible in Dialogue 2 (Rome: Gregorian & Biblical Press, 2011) 9.

Emmanuel Nathan and Reimund Bieringer, “Paul, Moses and the Veil: Paul’s Perspective on Judaism in Light of 2 Corinthians 3,” Paul’s Jewish Matrix, ed. Thomas G. Casey and Justin Taylor Bible in Dialogue 2, (Rome: Gregorian & Biblical Press, 2011) 201-228.

The first part of this essay, “On Paul’s use of καταργέω and τέλος" in 2 Cor 3:7, 11, 13 and 14,” is by Emmanuel Nathan (201-219) and the second part, dealing with the “Glory and the Veil,” is written by Reimund Bieringer (219-228).
In order to clarify the exceptionally difficult and controversial text found in 2 Cor 3:7-18, Nathan enters into a detailed discussion of καταργέω and τέλος to a large extent in response to Hans Windisch’s influential commentary of 1924. A review of the complex exegetical decisions allows him to repudiate Windisch’s position that 2 Cor 3:7-18 offers a negative assessment of Judaism. Yet at the same time Nathan offers a word of caution that the sheer ambiguity of καταργέω and τέλος, together with locating their referents, contributes to the uncertainty of what exactly Paul means. Even though Paul can, and should, be appreciated within his Jewish matrix, he believes that this ambiguity has helped to contribute to the later understanding of the old covenant that is abolished.
In the second part of this essay, Bieringer argues that the main theological concept in 2 Cor 3:7-18 is δόξα, and concludes that in this context it intends to communicate the nature of the deity in its manifestation. Even though Paul in 2 Cor 3:7-18 does not speak about Judaism explicitly, the implications for the Jewish matrix of Paul’s ‘post-Damascus view of Judaism’ become manifest especially insofar as the continuity between the old and new covenant is considerably more evident in this text than has been hitherto recognized by many interpreters. The antithetical terminology is evident throughout the passage and, even though it is not consistent with the emphases of the entire text, great care must be taken not to actualize the dangerous potential that a possible misreading of such antithetical language carries with it.

-- From the introductory essay by Karl P. Donfried, “Paul’s Jewish Matrix: The Scope and Nature of the Contributions,” Paul’s Jewish Matrix, ed. Thomas G. Casey and Justin Taylor Bible in Dialogue 2, (Rome: Gregorian & Biblical Press, 2011) 24-27.

The book is available on the page of the publisher.

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