In recent years, scholars from both Christian and Jewish backgrounds have tried to rethink the relationship between earliest Christianity and its Jewish milieu; and Paul has emerged as a central figure in this debate. Paul and the Hermeneutics of Faith contributes to the scholarly discussion by seeing Paul and his Jewish contemporaries as, above all, readers of scripture. However different the conclusions they draw, they all endeavour to make sense of the same normative scriptural texts -- in the belief that, as they interpret the scriptural texts, the texts will themselves interpret and illuminate the world of contemporary experience. Francis Watson shows how three distinct bodies of literature in fact constitute a single intertextual field. It is therefore necessary to dismantle artificial scholarly boundaries between the Pauline letters, other extant Jewish writings of the period, and the scriptural texts themselves.
The method adopted is to set a Pauline and a non-Pauline reading of a scriptural text alongside each other, to compare the ways in which the different readings seek to realize the semantic potential of the scriptural text, and to construct communal identity on that basis. Contrary to the view that these early readers merely impose their own pre-existing viewpoints on the scriptural texts, it becomes clear that they are profoundly engaged in fundamental hermeneutical issues.
Table of Contents
Introduction; A Three-Way Conversation The Covenant and the Law of Life Christ and Scripture Intertextual Dynamics The Conflict of Interpretations; Part 1: Antithesis 1. Justification and Hermeneutics; The Rhetoric of Citation Antithetical Hermeneutics; 2. Reading the Twelve; The Hermeneutics of the End The Persecuted Interpreter; 3. The God of my Salvation; Writing and the Book Living from the Vision; Part 2: Promise; 4. Genesis (1); Deconstructing the Hero The Narrated Promise; 5. Genesis (2); Works of Faithful Obedience Nature and the Patriarch The Founder of Religion and Science; Part 3: The Wilderness; 6. Exodus; The Veiling of the Text The Glory of Moses; 7. Leviticus; The Law of Life Moses rewritten Law and Immortality; 8. Numbers; Death in the Desert Narratives of Judgment and Salvation; Part 4: Last Words; 9. Deuteronomy (1); The Commandments of God Israel's Predicament Israel's Hope The Return to the Law; 10. Deuteronomy (2); The Desolation of Zion Daniel, Deuteronomy and Eschatology For and Against Moses Paul and Ezra; Conclusion
Francis Watson is Professor of New Testament Exegesis, University of Aberdeen and was formerly Reader in Biblical Theology, King's College London. Previous publications include: Paul, Judaism and the Gentiles, Text, Church and World, Text and Truth and Agape, Eros, Gender.