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Paul and Epictetus on Law: A Comparison (The Library of New Testament Studies)

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en Limba Engleză Hardback – 26 Oct 2009
Paul's relationship with covenantal nomism has long been the subject of lively discussion. In this book Niko Huttunen presents a challenging new path to complement the general scholarly picture of Paul's teaching on law. Acknowledging that Stoicism permeated Paul's intellectual milieu, Huttunen compares Paul's sayings of law with those of Epictetus drawing comparisons as a result of careful methodological considerations.

Pauline law is generally focused upon Paul's sayings on and relationship with the Torah. It is Huttunen's contention that Paul's ideas on law have clearer affinities with Stoic ideas than with the Torah. Throughout the course of the book Huttunen displays Paul's interpretation of the Torah with Stoic methods (1 Cor. 7-9), asserts that in some passages (Rom. 1-2 and Rom. 7) Paul's thinking is Stoic, not Platonic and demonstrates that Paul's famous "I"-passage (Rom. 7.7-25) owes much to Stoic anthropology and psychology. Where the latter is concerned Huttunen suggests that Epictetus' use of the first person presents a good analogy for Paul's employment of "I" as a rhetorical device. In further passages (e.g. Rom. 13-15) the comparison with Epictetus opens a window into ancient intellectual thinking in general. Epictetus' ideas of moral progress present an analogy both to the "works of law" and to Paul's moral exhortation. There are also similarities between Paul's figure of Christ and Epictetus' figure of Heracles. The comparison suggests further comparisons between Paul's treatment of law and other philosophers and schools.
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ISBN-13: 9780567074393
ISBN-10: 0567074390
Pagini: 208
Dimensiuni: 156 x 234 x 20 mm
Greutate: 0.45 kg
Editura: Bloomsbury Publishing
Colecția T&T Clark
Seria The Library of New Testament Studies

Locul publicării: London, United Kingdom


Familiarizes the reader with the Stoic Epictetus, a key figure for acacdemic studies of religion and philosophy.


1. On Applying the Stoic Perspective to Paul and Law
1.1. An Alternative Approach to an Old Problem
1.2. Sources and Earlier Studies
1.3. Methodological Considerations                                                                             

2. Law and the Core of Epictetus' Philosophy
2.1. Epictetus' Stoic Theory of Value 
2.2. Paul's Christian Stoicism in 1 Corinthians 7 and 9                                      

3. Fundamentals of Law
3.1. God and Nature in Epictetus
3.2. Paul on God, Law, and Nature in Romans 1 and 2                                    

4. The Strong and the Weak
4.1. Epictetus' Law on the Weaker and the Stronger
4.2. Paul: Love Between the Weak and the Strong                                                       

5. Difficulties With Law
5.1. Views on Marriage in Epictetus and in Paul
5.2. Epictetus and Paul on Divine Law and State Law                                      

6. The Anthropology and Psychology of Transgression
6.1. Moral Contradictions and Anthropological Dichotomy in Epictetus
6.2. Contradictions of the "I": Stoicism and Romans 7                                      

7. Fulfilling the Law
7.1. Epictetus: Progress After Examples                                                                       
7.2. Paul: Deeds and Christ                              

8. Conclusions                                                                                                             
9. Bibliography
9.1. Sources
9.2. Literature              


"In his nineteen page introduction, Huttunen, a researcher in NT studies as the University of Helsinki, defends applying the Stoic perspective t Paul and the Law.  Then he treats the following topics: law and the core of Epictetus' philosophy (Epictetus' Stoic theory of value; Paul's Christian Stoicism in 1 Corinthians 7 and 9); the fundamentals of law (God and nature in Epictetus; Paul on God, law, and nature in Romans 1 and 2); the strong and the weak (Epictetus' law on the weaker and the strong; Paul--love between the weak and the strong); difficulties with the law (views on marriage in Epictetus and in Paul; Epictetus and Paul on divine law and state law); the anthropology and psychology of transgression (moral contradictions and anthropological dichotomy in Epictetus; contradictions of the 'I'--Stoicism in Romans 7); and fulfilling the law (Epictetus--progress after examples; Paul--deeds and Christ).  Huttunen concludes that comparison between Paul and Epictetus opens a window not only on Stoic ideas but also on the intellectual landscape of the first centuries A.D." -New Testament Abstracts, Vol. 54
Reviewed in Journal for the Study of The New Testament, Volume 33 Number 5
While some of his readings of Paul and (the) law will probably be controversial to scholars, Huttunen has succeeded in opening up new ways of approaching this difficult topic. At the same time, he has provided a valuable presentation of Stoic theory as expressed by the Epictetus with a number of useful textual examples. One of the greatest strengths of Huttunen's study is precisely his careful and insightful analysis of Epictetus's lectures, which will undoubtedly prove helpful to Pauline scholarship, far beyond studies of Paul and (the) law.
As a salutary supplement to the customary approaches of the "old" and "new" perspectives on Paul, this is an initial foray into an area that merits further study.