Paul and the Gift: Explorations in Paul's Theology of Grace

Speaker(s): John Barclay
Date: July 13-24, 2009
Length: 15:48:08
Product ID: RGDL3925S

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This course is a study in Paul's theology, which is explored by following a single but highly significant thread: his theology of grace. The study of "gift" is currently a hot topic in anthropology, philosophy and theology, and there are rich theological resources in the Pauline letters that need to be studied in this connection. We begin by examining Paul's theology of divine gift, and in particular the Christ-gift, as a radicalisation of the Scriptural (Old Testament) and Jewish tradition, placing Paul in dialogue with other Second Temple Jews to see how his understanding of divine grace relates to his Jewish heritage. Particular attention will be paid here to his letters to the Galatians and the Romans, as they articulate his notions of grace in relation to both Gentiles and Jews. Next his treatment of gift-giving and reciprocity among human recipients of grace, with reference to Paul's apostolic ministry (free of charge), his theology of reciprocity in the body of Christ, his ethics, and his collection for Jerusalem are examined. Here the Corinthian letters are the main focus, not least the rich discussion of gift in 2 Corinthians 8- 9. Paul's theology is then placed alongside the theory and practice of gift-giving in the Graeco- Roman world to examine how his vision of reciprocity is affected by his theology of grace. We will thus examine one of the crucial links between "theology" and "ethics" in Paul's thought and will consider how his distinctively Christian ethic provides resources for contemporary church, culture and economics. Lectures include:

  • Gift and Grace; The Pauline Theology of Gift
  • Grace/Mercy in the in the Jewish Tradition
  • Grace and Calling
  • The Fitting Gift and the Christ Gift
  • The Root and the Community it Supports
  • Benefactors, Gifts, and Reciprocity in the Greco-Roman World
  • Paul, Benefactor or Broker of the Gift?
  • Paying it Forward
  • Reciprocity in the Body of Christ
  • Putting it All Together

See All Audio by John Barclay

John Barclay is Lightfoot Professor of Divinity at Durham University. He is author of many books, including Pauline Churches and Diaspora Jews, Colossians and Philemon, and Obeying the Truth. A Study of Paul's Ethics in Galatians.

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