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Paul and His Interpreters: A Critical History [Paperback]

By Albert Schweitzer (Author)
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This book an EXACT reproduction of the original book published before 1923. This IS NOT an OCR'd book with strange characters, introduced typographical errors, and jumbled words. This book may have occasional imperfections such as missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. that were either part of the original artifact, or were introduced by the scanning process. We believe this work is culturally important, and despite the imperfections, have elected to bring it back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide. We appreciate your understanding of the imperfections in the preservation process, and hope you enjoy this valuable book.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Wipf & Stock Publishers
Pages   252
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.58" Width: 5.56" Height: 0.6"
Weight:   0.73 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 1, 2004
Publisher   Wipf & Stock Publishers
ISBN  1592444644  
ISBN13  9781592444649  

Availability  0 units.

More About Albert Schweitzer

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Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965) won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1952. While still a young man he demonstrated extraordinary abilities in a wide range of pursuits, including science, theology, and music. In 1908 he published his magisterial study of the life and works of Johann Sebastian Bach. He studied medicine from 1905 to 1913 at the University of Strasbourg, then founded a hospital in French Equatorial Africa, where he spent most of the remainder of his life. Schweitzer used his Nobel Prize stipend to expand the hospital and to build a leper colony. His book The Primeval Forest is also available from Johns Hopkins.

Albert Schweitzer was born in 1875 and died in 1965.

Albert Schweitzer has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Albert Schweitzer Library
  2. Modern Spiritual Masters

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Authors, A-Z > ( S ) > Schweitzer, Albert
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Criticism & Interpretation > Criticism & Interpretation

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Important precis on a century of Pauline scholarship  Dec 2, 2006
`Paul and His Interpreters, A Critical History' by one of the 20th century's true (and few) Renaissance men, Dr. Albert Schweitzer, is, remarkably, after almost 100 years, still an important book for the study of the Pauline letters in the New Testament. At the very least, it is a means by which one can avoid spending unnecessary time with most of the work done over the entire 19th century by German (and a few French and Dutch) New Testament scholars.

Dr. Schweitzer clearly, with no apologies, states that he is covering only German language studies; however, this is no great limitation, as it was the Germans, under the influence of Martin Luther, who invented modern New Testament scholarship with a concentration on the letters of Paul. And, this century of scholarship was dominated by the Tubingen (sic for umlaut) school, founded by Herr Professor Ferdinand Christian Baur, who established the insight that Paul's writings are almost entirely independent of other New Testament writings, especially Acts, and that they really need to be studied on their own. This insight in itself is as true today as it was 200 years ago, and it reveals the even more amazing observation that early Christian doctrines of post-Apostolic Church Fathers was virtually untouched by any influence from the doctrines in Paul's epistles. This is entirely consistent with my understanding that no firmly established corpus of writings existed as a core testament until Marcion put one together early in the second century of the common era, which featured the Pauline letters.

The Tubingen school, in Schweitzer's opinion, soon goes off the track for several decades as two to three generations of Pauline scholars work on the hypothesis that Paul's gospel was based not on Jewish sources, but on Hellenistic thinking, or at the very least, on a Diaspora Judaism from the centers of Hellenistic thinking, Antioch and Alexandria.

Among the dozens of good German doctors Herr Dr. Schweitzer surveys, there is any number of variations on this doctrine. So many in fact that I challenge anyone to keep them all straight with a single reading. Fortunately, the good Doktor Schweitzer is a very engaging writer who manages to bring his major points into strong relief by some delightful turns of phases. These little `bon mots' kept me going through several patches of trying academic, more especially translated German academic prose.

One of the side issues to Paul's sources was the attempt to identify which New Testament letters were actually written by Paul and which were written by his students or colleagues. The lack of agreement even on this point is amazing. The letter to the Romans, for example, has been sliced up in at least three different ways, and yet it still seems to hang together for modern scholars.

After staying with Schweitzer for almost 100 years of High German academic writing, I began to wonder if after all that time, anyone managed to get anything right! Dr. S. is even critical of Adolf Harnack, whose `History of Dogma' (Dogmengeschichte') is seen as the Mount Everest of New Testament scholarship. We finally get to William Wrede's `Paul' (`Paulus') first published in 1907. Schweitzer generally agrees with Wrede's conclusions, based on the relatively new techniques of `comparative religion'.

This book gives very little of Schweitzer's own conclusions on the matter, because the book happened to grow out of an introductory chapter to a longer work, `The Mysticism of Paul the Apostle', which I was tempted to read first. I was talked out of this plan by a statement which indicated that Schweitzer's argument in the longer work often depends on findings in the earlier work, which he does not entirely review. So, here I am, at the end of a study which `...has nothing very brilliant to show for itself in the way of scientific achievement. Learning has been lavishly expended upon it, but thought and reflection have been to seek' to quote Schweitzer in his final chapters.

I do not begrudge having read this chronicle of poorly conceived research, as it cordons off a whole boatload of things I can safely avoid in my own studies of the New Testament. And, just as with my feelings about cookbooks and computer books, a single good recipe or a single good algorithm makes the book worth the effort. In this case, it is the insight of the separation between Pauline thought and doctrines in other New Testament writing. If this seems odd, I give you Schweitzer's observation that 1700 years later, musicians took little notice of the work of Bach for almost 100 years.

If you want to read `The Mysticism of Paul the Apostle', I suggest you at least skim through this book and have a copy on hand if you find yourself dipping into 19th century German writings on Paul.

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