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Paul and Epictetus on Law: A Comparison (The Library of New Testament Studies)

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Pages: 208

Book format: An electronic version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or handheld device designed specifically for this purpose.

Publisher: Date:12/26/2009 - T & T Clark International

By: Niko Huttunen

Huttunen compares Paul's teaching of law with those of Epictetus, suggesting his ideas have clearer affinities to the Stoics than to the Torah. Paul's relationship with covenantal nomism has long been the subject of lively discussion. In this book Niko Huttunen presents a challenging new path to complement the general scholarly picture of Paul's teaching on law. Acknowledging that Stoicism permeated Paul's intellectual milieu, Huttunen compares Paul's sayings of law with those of Epictetus drawing comparisons as a result of careful methodological considerations. Pauline law is generally focused upon Paul's sayings on and relationship with the Torah. It is Huttunen's contention that Paul's ideas on law have clearer affinities with Stoic ideas than with the Torah. Throughout the course of the book Huttunen displays Paul's interpretation of the Torah with Stoic methods ("1 Cor. 7-9"), asserts that in some passages ("Rom. 1-2" and "Rom. 7") Paul's thinking is Stoic, not Platonic and demonstrates that Paul's famous "I"-passage ("Rom. 7.7-25") owes much to Stoic anthropology and psychology. Where the latter is concerned Huttunen suggests that Epictetus' use of the first person presents a good analogy for Paul's employment of 'I' as a rhetorical device. In further passages (e.g. "Rom. 13-15") the comparison with Epictetus opens a window into ancient intellectual thinking in general. Epictetus' ideas of moral progress present an analogy both to the 'works of law' and to Paul's moral exhortation. There are also similarities between Paul's figure of Christ and Epictetus' figure of Heracles. The comparison suggests further comparisons between Paul's treatment of law and other philosophers and schools. Formerly the "Journal for the Study of the New Testament Supplement", a book series that explores the many aspects of New Testament study including historical perspectives, social-scientific and literary theory, and theological, cultural and contextual approaches. "The Early Christianity in Context" series, a part of JSNTS, examines the birth and development of early Christianity up to the end of third century CE. The series places Christianity in its social, cultural, political and economic context. European Seminar on Christian Origins and "Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus Supplement" are also part of JSNTS.  

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