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Studies in the Pauline Epistles: Essays in Honor of Douglas J. Moo – Part 2 (Paul’s Use of Scripture and the Jesus Tradition)

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 FSYesterday I gave you guys a taste of the first section (Exegeting Paul) of the Festschrift that was presented to Dr. Douglas Moo at last year’s ETS Annual Meeting. Today we’ll take a look at the second section – “Paul’s Use of Scripture and the Jesus Tradition.” The first essay in this part is “Quotations, Allusions, and Echoes of Jesus in Paul” by Craig Blomberg. Blomberg  applies Richard Hays’s criteria for identifying Old Testament references in Paul (from his landmark work Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paulto the task of Pauline use of the Jesus tradition. This essay does not go in depth into which of Hays’s criteria each of the proposed allusions and echoes satisfies and how (for that would be impossible in a brief essay), but provides sweeping analyses and summary arguments for why certain Pauline texts are allusions or possible echoes of Jesus tradition. Blomberg’s approach in this essay is novel as well as interesting and provides stimulation for further and more detailed work using Hays’s criteria in studying Paul’s use of the oral gospel tradition. Blomberg’s conclusion is also interesting for the broader fields of New Testament and early Christianity:

His [Paul’s] interest in citing Jesus’s ethical teachings far more than his theological sayings, combined with broader conceptual comparisons of the theologies of Jesus and Paul (showing that Paul almost certainly knew Jesus’ views on a much broader array of topics than he explicitly discloses), suggests that there was more divergence in his churches from orthopraxy than from orthodoxy. This is a significant conclusion in a n age when comparatively minor differences in the theologies of various New Testament books are often exaggerated and turned into major, conflicting strands of early Christian thought. Where there was divergence, it appears to have been more in the areas of peripheral elements of eschatology than in core areas like Christology.

(Harmon and Smith 142).

The second essay, “Allegory, Typology, or Something Else? Revisiting Galatians 4:21-5:1,” is by Matthew S. Harmon, one of the editors of the book. Harmon begins by providing an overview of the text in question in light of its literary context. He then examines the meaning of ἀλληγορέω in Galatians 4:24, which is no easy task since this is the only occurrence of this word in both the LXX and the NT. Beginning by looking at three examples of Philo’s use of ἀλληγορέω and arguing that Paul is in Galatians 4:24 using the word in a similar way, Harmon concludes that “Paul uses ἀλληγορέω to signal that he is reading Gen 16-21 through the lens of another textual, philosophical, or theological framework to reveal a fuller meaning. That textual and theological framework comes from Isa 54:1 and its surrounding context” (154). Building off of this conclusion, Harmon goes on to argue that “Paul’s reading is typological in that it depends on real historical and textual correspondences intended by the author(s). But it is allegorical in that those correspondences are more fully revealed through the use of a theological and textual framework provided by Isa 54:1 and its surrounding context” (156). Finally, Harmon compares his conclusions to Moo’s as expressed in his recent commentary on Galatians.

The third and final essay of this section is by Grant Osborne and is entitled “Hermeneutics and Paul: Psalm 68:18 in Ephesians 4:7-10 as a Test Case.” Osborne opens the essay with a brief look at the issue of the use of Ps 68:18 in Eph 4:8 from the perspective of general hermeneutics, noting the importance of authorial intent and understanding ancient Jewish hermeneutics. He then spends some time on Psalm 68 as a whole before finally addressing the use of Psalm 68:18 in Ephesians 4:8. Here Osborne reveals that he has changed his position. For over thirty years he had held a position based on an article by Gary Smith1 in which Psalm 68:18 refers “to the Levites taken captive by God to himself, and he both received the Levites and gave them back to Israel as his gifts for cultic ministry…Just as God called the Levites to himself and gave them to Israel as his grace-gifts to minister to them, so he in Christ now calls his chosen leaders to himself (Eph 4:8b) and gives them (4:8c) to the church as ministers (4:11) to the new Israel” (171-172). Now, in large part because of military imagery of both Psalm 68 and Ephesians 4, Osborne finds superior the view that “In Psalm 68 it is Yahweh the divine Warrior who ascends to his newly chosen abode on Mount Zion and ‘receives’ gifts from the defeated foes of his people…in a midrashic type of exegesis Paul is taking the fits of Yahweh to the people of Israel in the psalm and applying it to the gifts of the ascended Christ to the people of the new Israel” (172-173). Osborne concludes his essay with a brief look at the three major interpretations of Jesus’s descent in Ephesians 4:9-10. While acknowledging the viability of all three options, Osborne contends that the best view is that of the descent referring to Christ’s incarnation.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this look at the second set of essays. Since these essays concern the NT use of OT, those who hold to a different view on this hermeneutical matter will likely find points here or there to disagree with. But even if that’s the case, one would still find here top-notch scholarship and richly stimulating material. Stay tuned for the final section, “Pauline Scholarship in His Contemporary Significance.” Here we find two surprising guests at the table…you know you’ve dunn scholarship wright when your most well-known opponents honor and appreciate you in a Festschrift 😉

1. Gary V. Smith, “Paul’s Use of Psalm 68:18 in Ephesians 4:8,” JETS 18 (1975): 181-89.

*Update* Part 3 here.

Many thanks to Zondervan Academic for the review copy!

Purchase: Amazon

Leave a comment


  1. Matthew R. Malcolm

     /  February 12, 2015

    Let’s just Moove away from the silly puns 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. jamesbradfordpate

     /  February 12, 2015

    Reblogged this on James' Ramblings.


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