Thursday, July 07, 2005

Refined thoughts on Thielman

Scarily there are some people who read what I write, including Miscreant (the name has a great reason) who has read posts of mine on both Wright and Thielman. If he had much sense he would not, as I am far from an authority on either. I have read an authority on both of them, although I had forgotten all about it when writing on Thielman. Anyway I dug out my recently read copy of Perspectives Old and New on Paul: The "Lutheran" Paul and His Critics by Stephen Westerholm. He has four and a half pages dedicated to Mr Thielman, I will just quote one of his footnotes.

Thielman's understanding of Israel's "plight" shares much in common with that of N. T. Wright, and the two are often grouped together in the summaries and critiques of other scholars. For our purposes, however, it is important to distinguish them inasmuch as Wright makes much of the discontinuity he sees between Paul's understanding of justification and its "Lutheran" interpretation, whereas Thielman sees significant continuity.

(Westerholm, Stephen Perspectives Old and New on Paul: The "Lutheran" Paul and His Critics, p.215, Grand Rapids:Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2004)

If you are adapt at searching inside books on Amazon, you may be able to read all that Westerholm has to say here.

For what it matters, I think he may well be in a group of younger scholars (including Bruce W. Longenecker) who has moved past the controversy, and party spirit, and found a fruitful path using the best of both perspectives.

PS. Wright says that Thielman is '[o]ne of the best of the younger generation of Pauline scholars. Clear, refreshing, incisive, even when one may not agree' (Wright, N. T., What St Paul Really Said, p.190, Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1997).


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