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Studies in the Pauline Epistles: Essays in Honor of Douglas J. Moo – Part 1 (Exegeting Paul)

Matthew S. Harmon and Jay E. Smith, ed. Studies in the Pauline Epistles: Essays in Honor of Douglas J. Moo.  Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2014. 320 pp. $49.99.

Moo FSThis Festschrift was presented to Dr. Moo at the ETS Annual Meeting last year (video of the presentation here) and is a treat for anyone with interest in Pauline studies. Because this is my favorite area of biblical and theological study, it would be much too difficult to select a few favorite essays to highlight in a conventional review. I will therefore follow the division of the book and take three posts to provide a brief summary of every essay in order to pique your interest. I think this would be especially helpful since Amazon still does not have the “look inside” feature for this book. The essays are divided into three sections: Exegeting Paul (6 chapters), Paul’s Use of Scripture and the Jesus Tradition (3 chapters), and Pauline Scholarship and His Contemporary Significance (7 chapters). Today we’ll look at the first section, “Exegeting Paul.”

Ardel Caneday kicks off the section with an essay entitled “Already Reigning in Life through One Man: Recovery of Adam’s Dominion (Romans 5:12-21)” in which he explores how Paul links the “already” and “not yet” aspects of the new creation. Focusing especially on Romans 5:17, Caneday argues that “will reign…in life” refers to “the reign that Paul elaborates on in Romans 6. It is the believer’s present dominion over sin in these mortal bodies” (28). Next, Chris A. Vlachos presents “The Catalytic Operation of the Law and Moral Transformation in Romans 6-7.” He draws on his doctoral research under Dr. Moo at Wheaton on the edenic allusions in Romans 7:7-11 and examines the implication of a law-sin nexus in Eden  on moral transformation. The third essay, “Of Parents and Children: 1 Corinthians 4:15-16 and Life in the Family of God,” is by Doug Moo’s son Jonathan. Drawing heavily upon Trevor J. Burke’s monograph Family Matters: A Socio-Historical Study of Kinship Metaphors in 1 Thessalonians, Jonathan Moo examines Paul’s use of the parent-child metaphor to see what in his relationship with the Corinthians Paul intended to highlight with this metaphor, as well as how he conceives of family life and life in the family of God (61). Jonathan Moo demonstrates that “Paul uses parent metaphors almost exclusively to appeal to the strong emotional bond that exists between himself and those he brought to the faith, to convey his deep love and affection for them, and to explain his heartfelt and passionate concern for their well-being – a concern that leads him at times to admonish, encourage, and comfort them…what is striking is how Paul apparently ignores the stronger potential within his culture to highlight his authority over the churches as their founding father or patriarch” (71).

In the subsequent essay, “A Slogan in 1 Corinthians 6:18b: Pressing the Case,” Jay E. Smith brings three new arguments for 1 Corinthians 6:18b being a Corinthian maxim or slogan. The first concerns the indefinite relative clause ὃ ἐὰν ποιήσῃ ἄνθρωπος; the second concerns the use of ἁμάρτημα; and the third argues from the dialog continuing through verse 20. The penultimate essay of this first section is by D. A. Carson and is entitled “Mirror-Reading with Paul and against Paul: Galatians 2:12-14 as a Test Case.” In this essay, Carson focuses on the question of the relationship between τινας ἀπὸ Ἰακώβου and τοὺς ἐκ περιτομῆς in Galatians 2:12 in order to reflect on mirror reading and demonstrate “which instances of mirror-reading, though speculative, enrich the thrust of the text; which instances of mirror-reading, though without contradicting the text, seem to swivel the focus away from the text; and which instances of mirror-reading, though not intrinsically impossible or even (in some cases) implausible, demand the assumption that the text is itself mistaken” (99). In the final essay of this section, “Greek Grammar and the Translation of Philippians 2:12,” Verlyn Verbrugge (senior editor at large for biblical and theological resources at Zondervan) reflects on Dr. Min oo’s crucial role on the Committee on Bible Translation (the committee that oversees the ongoing updating of the NIV), notes some important principles of (Bible) translation, and spends some time on an important nuance in Philippians 2:12 that most modern English translations miss.

As you can already see from this first section, Studies in the Pauline Epistles: Essays in Honor of Douglas J. Moo is a feast for anyone who loves Pauline studies, especially those who appreciate the work of Dr. Moo. As is typical with Festschriften, most of the essays interact with Moo’s scholarship as well as relay personal anecdotes and words of appreciation. Tomorrow I’ll give you a run-down of the second section of essays – “Paul’s Use of Scripture and the Jesus Tradition.”

*Update* Part 2 here.

Many thanks to Zondervan Academic for the review copy!

Purchase: Amazon

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  1. Studies in the Pauline Epistles: Essays in Honor of Douglas J. Moo – Part 2 (Paul’s Use of Scripture and the Jesus Tradition) |
  2. Studies in the Pauline Epistles: Essays in Honor of Douglas J. Moo – Part 3 (Pauline Scholarship and His Contemporary Significance) |
  3. Biblical Studies Carnival – February 2015 |
  4. Web Round Up #8 | Women Biblical Scholars
  5. Giveaway – Studies in the Pauline Epistles: Essays in Honor of Douglas J. Moo |

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