Thursday, January 10, 2013

Scot McKnight interviews Mark Nanos on the apostle Paul

Gathering Sparks readers might appreciate "Where Christians Got It Wrong With Paul," in which popular evangelical blogger/author/academic Scot McKnight interviews Mark Nanos about his contribution to the recent Zondervan "multiple views" series release The Apostle Paul.  Here's the introduction:
Mark Nanos is on a mission to expound for readers of Paul a Paul who never broke from Judaism. His project, and here we are sketching some of what he says in the book edited by Mike Bird called The Apostle Paul, is both about rhetoric and theology. Nanos, who plays golf well and is a Jewish scholar of Paul, has been stumping for his themes for more than a decade. 
The rhetoric is clear: Christians have explained their faith, in particular the theology of Paul, at the expense of Judaism. They have made Paul a champion of freedom by arguing Judaism was slavery, Paul a champion of universalism by arguing Judaism was exclusive and ethnic, and Paul a champion of a religion of grace, faith and love while Judaism comes off looking like a religion of merit, works and legalism. In a strange irony, Nanos then says “those values that Christians champion… are instead inferior to the values Jews actually uphold” (163). I get his point, but he’s done the same thing he’s accused Christian scholars of doing: comparative descriptions come off as comparative denunciations. But Nanos has the larger end of the stick on this one; he’s right; Christians have failed to comprehend Judaism because they’ve settled for caricatures that they can use to champion their own faith.
Check out the full interview, in which they discuss "works of the law," Paul's "conversion" vs. Paul's "calling," and the difference between Paul's Judaism and others.  (Hint: it involves words like "chronometrical.")

Update: James pointed out that there is some great discussion in the comments section including comments from Nanos himself.

4 comments: said...

Have you read the book yet?


Yahnatan said...

Not yet. said...

I noticed all of the comments on the blog were from back in August. On the one hand, seems like old news, but then again, I'd never heard of this book before. I especially liked Nanos' extensive comments on McKnight's blog.


Yahnatan said...


Yeah, it took me a while to post on this, but it still may be relevant for those who haven't seen it. Thanks for drawing attention to the comments section--I added a note about it above.