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Narrative Dynamics in Paul: A Critical Assessment Paperback – October 30, 2002

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About the Author

Bruce W. Longenecker is Professor of Religion and the W.W. Melton Chair of Religion in the Department of Religion at Baylor University.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press; 1 edition (October 30, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0664222773
  • ISBN-13: 978-0664222772
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,389,238 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
In 1980, J.C. Beker declared in Paul the Apostle that, “Paul is a man of the proposition, the argument and the dialogue, not a man of the parable or story” (p.352). At the time, he was far from the only one who took that as an assumed position. A few short years after those words were written, though, the winds of change began to blow.

Over the last few decades, significant parts of Pauline scholarship have drawn enthusiastically from the field of literary theory, resulting in an increased amount of attention being given to the evocative ways in which Paul’s language engages with and alludes to earlier biblical narratives, among other things.

Narrative Elements in Paul

In the introduction of Narrative Dynamics in Paul: A Critical Assessment, Bruce Longenecker (the volume’s editor) points to Richard B. Hays as the most important pioneer of the narrative approach (p.5). In his influential 1983 work, The Faith of Jesus Christ, Hays explored the “narrative substructure” of Galatians 3:1-4:11. According to Longenecker, Hays’ work, by centering on narrative elements and “the story of Jesus as a generating feature of Paul’s theology… put the issue of narrative contours explicitly on the agenda of Pauline study” (p.6). What does the term “narrative substructure” mean? Longenecker explains:

For Hays, a narrative substructure is not ‘behind’ the text, detachable from it, but ‘beneath’ the text, undergirding it, supporting it, animating it, and giving it coherence, while also constraining its discursive options. (p.6)

A couple of years after Hays’ book came out, N.T. Wright released The New Testament and the People of God, the first volume of his mammoth-sized series “Christian Origins and the Question of God.
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