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date: 20 October 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This essay gives a programmatic account of Paul’s engagement with scripture, focusing especially on Paul’s most frequently cited source texts: Genesis and Psalms. Paul’s engagement with scripture, it is argued, is shaped by three main factors. First, he views himself not primarily as an interpreter of scripture but as a proclaimer of the gospel. Second, Paul’s own Pharisaic past makes him acutely aware that most of his fellow Jews read the same texts he does, and yet do not share his faith in Jesus as the crucified and risen Messiah. Third, Paul’s scriptural interpretation occurs in the context of letters addressed to communities he has founded. Paul does not engage with scripture to the same extent in all his letters. It would be a mistake to characterize him as, always and in every respect, a ‘biblical theologian’. Yet it would be a greater mistake to underestimate the value and significance he attributes to scripture.

Keywords: Paul, scripture, Bible, hermeneutics, interpretation, Genesis, Psalms

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