21 May 2009

Weak and Foolish

Graham Tomlin's fascinating dissertation written at Oxford was published in 1999 with the title: The Power of the Cross: Theology and the Death of Christ in Paul, Luther and Pascal. Intriguing conjunction of thinkers. Concluding his comments on Paul, which focuses on the Corinthian correspondence, he writes:

Paul claims that God's action in the cross is paradigmatic for his action in the present, in that just as God chose the weak suffering Christ, so also he chooses socially inferior people, and a weak suffering apostle. The cross therefore has theological significance for Paul, in that it reveals the way God works now, not just the way he achieved salvation in the past. Paul insists that the God who 'chose' the crucified Messiah also 'chose' the poorer Christians and a weak apostle. . . . Paul's language in [1 Corinthians] implies a new understanding of God, rooted in OT perspectives, of a God who always achieves his purposes through things which in the eyes of the world are weak and foolish. (pp. 100-1)

Hope for me!

Relatedly, the definitive work on crucifixion in the ancient world and how it was understood by Jews and then reworked by Christians is by David Chapman (Covenant Seminary) and was published last year.

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