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4 - Paul, the Mind of Christ, and Philosophy

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 June 2012

Paul K. Moser
Affiliation:
Loyola University, Chicago
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Summary

JESUS, PAUL, PHILOSOPHY

What difference does Jesus make to Paul? And what implications are there, in that difference, for the practice of philosophy?

To answer these questions, we must negotiate difficult territory. The pitfalls include Paul's stance toward philosophy, his relationship to Jesus, and the sources we should trust – not to speak of the conflicting opinions that scholars, skeptics, and true believers have voiced on every detail of such a journey, including the nature of philosophy itself.

The most obvious obstacle for many is the very juxtaposition of Paul and philosophy. Did he not write in Colossians 2:8, “Take care that no one carries you away with philosophy and empty deceit according to human tradition, according to the elements of the cosmos, and not according to Christ”? Well, perhaps not: the weight of scholarly opinion is against Paul's authorship of that letter, so immediately we encounter a problem with what counts as evidence. And yet it is true that running through Paul's letters generally accepted as genuine is the stark contrast between human and divine wisdom, a reliance on revealed truths that cannot be achieved by human beings, and a claim to have had disclosed to him mysteries or secrets not previously available. We will have to assess judiciously the implications of his apparent distaste for philosophy, but however that turns out, it remains the case that Paul betrays very little interest in the philosophical activity of his day.

Type
Chapter
Information
Jesus and Philosophy
New Essays
, pp. 84 - 106
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2008

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References

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Segal, Alan F., Paul the Convert: The Apostolate and Apostasy of Saul the Pharisee (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990)Google Scholar
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Gooch, Paul W., “Conscience.” The New Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, vol. 1 (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2006), 719–26Google Scholar
Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ed. Borchert, Donald, vol. 3, 2nd ed. (Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2006), 630–33
Matthews, Gareth B., Socratic Perplexity and the Nature of Philosophy (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1999)Google Scholar
Gooch, Paul W., Reflections on Jesus and Socrates: Word and Silence (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996), 111–13, 157–60Google Scholar
Murray, Michael in “Philosophy and Christian Theology,” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (summer 2002 edition), ed. Zalta, Edward N.

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