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Paul's Narrative Thought World [Paperback]

By Ben III Witherington (Author)
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Item description for Paul's Narrative Thought World by Ben III Witherington...

It is a common belief that Paul's letters are not stories but rather theological ideas and practical advice. Ben Witherington thinks otherwise. He is convinced that all Paul's ideas, arguments, practical advice, and social arrangements are ultimately grounded in stories, some found in the Hebrew scriptures and some found in the oral tradition. Witherington says that Paul's thought was shaped by four interrelated stories comprising a larger drama: the story of a world gone wrong; the story of Israel in that world; the story of Christ, which arises both out of the story of Israel and out of the story of God as creator and redeemer; and the story of the Christians, which indicates a world set right again. According to Witherington, the story of Christ is the crucial turning point that affects how the story will ultimately be resolved.

Publishers Description

It is a common belief that Paul's letters are not stories but rather theological ideas and practical advice. Ben Witherington III thinks otherwise. He is convinced that all of Paul's ideas, arguments, practical advice, and social arrangements are ultimately grounded in stories, some found in the Hebrew Scriptures and some found in the oral tradition.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Westminster John Knox Press
Pages   384
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.96" Width: 5.95" Height: 1.09"
Weight:   1.25 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 1, 1994
Publisher   AUTHENTIC UK
Edition  New  
ISBN  0664254330  
ISBN13  9780664254339  

Availability  109 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 17, 2017 06:01.
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More About Ben III Witherington

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Ben Witherington III (PhD, University of Durham) is Amos Professor of New Testament for Doctoral Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky, and is on the doctoral faculty at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. He is the author or coauthor of more than thirty books, including The Jesus Quest, The Paul Quest, and The New York Times bestseller The Brother of Jesus. He has appeared on the History Channel, NBC, ABC, CBS, and CNN.

Ben III Witherington has published or released items in the following series...
  1. New Cambridge Bible Commentary
  2. New Testament in Context
  3. Society for New Testament Studies in Monograph

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Bible & Other Sacred Texts > Bible > New Testament
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Commentaries > Commentaries
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Criticism & Interpretation > Criticism & Interpretation
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > General

Christian Product Categories
Books > Bible Study > Study Resources > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about Paul's Narrative Thought World?

If you're not a scholar, pick a different book.  Jun 27, 2001
Ben Witherington sets out on a rather ambitious journey. To chart the Apostle Paul's thought world from a big picture viewpoint. He begins by rejecting the approach used by systematic commentaries on St. Paul's theology, with all their limitations (i.e., dividing Paul's thought into Soteriological or Eschatological or by the evolution of his theological world view).

So Witherington instead plots Paul's theology in a narrative fashion. Of course, systematic referances concerning theology are so engrained into our western thinking that they are impossible to avoid entirely, but he does a wonderful job of taking the reader through Paul's theology as if it were a narrative -- which in fact, it really is. From the Fall, to Israel and the Law, to Christ and the New Covenant, it is story rich with dramatic tension, wonderful characters, and a heck of a plot.

Two complaints, though. One, Witherington does not write for the layman in mind. This book delves too far into certain topics which could have been condensed in order to alleviate the theological "jargon" so often emlpoyed by scholars.

Two, Witherington seems to compromise on his own personal beliefs about Pauline authorship in order to gain acceptance for his work in the scholarly community. Pauline authorship of the Pastoral Epistles and Ephesians or Colossians is a hot topic within some circles, but has cooled off in others. That latter circle would have frowned on Witherington including the disputed epistles, so Witherington simply does not. In my opinion, if he feels there is some merit to their inclusion, he should state his case, include them, then move on.

All in all, this book is a helpful guide towards seeing Pauline thought as a grand narrative story, and not some odd collection of theological maxims. Just don't be afraid to skim if your mind begins to wander or your eyelids start to droop.


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