Thursday, March 5, 2015

The 3 Dimensions of Paul (as seen from different perspectives)

Just came across an article from Kesher Journal that surveys the different perspectives on Paul (with the One Law perspective being noticeably absent).  The article is well-written but it can be rather tedious to review all the different perspectives.

So with that in mind, allow me to break things down.

In a post not too long ago, I defined Messianic Judaism (from the One Law perspective) as follows:

Messianic Judaism is the belief that Yeshua is the promised Messiah of Israel who taught His followers to inform their World View and Way of Life through both Scripture and Judaic Tradition and to identify as members of the Israel of G-d.

Notice that there are three dimensions there:  World View (theory of everything, how you answer life's most important questions), Way of Life (practices), and Social Group.

These same three dimensions apply to Paul.

In the Kesher article, the author referred to Zetterholm's breakdown of the different approaches to Paul.  He says there's the traditional approach, the "new perspective", and the radical new perspective.  The reality, however, is that people tend to view Paul based on the three dimensions of their own religious perspective.

For example, a Christian--even a relatively pro-Judaic Christian--will never hold to an approach to Paul that threatens the three dimensions of Christian thinking.  He won't argue that Paul wants Gentiles to keep Torah according to Judaic standards.  Such a Paul would threaten his own religion!

In the same way, the author of the Kesher article, I'm guessing someone from the UMJC, probably advocates a Paul that tells Gentiles to not keep Torah according to Judaic standards.  They promote a dual-Torah or Exclusionist Paul because the alternative is a threat to the UMJC's religion.

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