In my previous post, I promised to write more about the innovative nature of Paul’s letters.
No one denies that Paul lived in the Greco-Roman world as a devout Jew. But it is one thing to know that fact but is another to claim that Paul was nothing but an ordinary Jew living in the Greco-Roman world just because he lived in such a time and in such a locale.
Thorsteinsson is quite vocal in arguing that Paul was influenced by his own environment (Thorsteinsson, 2003:8-9). Again, no one denies that. But we know at the same time that people respond to their own environment in diametrically different ways. If there were ten Jewish authors in Auschwitz, their diaries and writings would have looked quite distinctive because different people use the language’s meaning-making resources differently to produce different texts (Halliday 2014:4). So, if you read Paul’s own writings carefully enough, you will be able to see that the Apostle was not a passive and culturally saturated letter-writer. Rather, he was a radically innovative one (Hill, “Psalms of Solomon,” 2015:31–37).
(Photo: The Apostle Paul [Jan Lievens, 1629])