TAKING PAUL SERIOUSLY
AbstractThis article explores what it might mean to take Paul seriously about the ‘revelatory foundations ‘of Christianity.1 I argue that the apostle, unlike most Christian philosophers and theologians today, shows little interest in defending the respectability or reasonableness of Christian belief, whether to insiders or to outsiders. Indeed, Paul concedes that his ‘message about the cross‘ will inevitably seem – and remain – utter ‘foolishness' to the overwhelming majority who learn of it (1 Cor 1:18-25). Moreover, because the gospel cannot be inferred from a common body of knowledge or derived with principles of logic, believers have little choice but to trust that Paul has, in fact, received communication from a sacred realm and relayed the message accurately. In an age when evidence and good reasons are (rightly) sought for our models of reality, conceding that the whole edifice rests on the purported veridicality of the visionary experiences of a handful of ancient witnesses, whose credibility we are not well-positioned to assess, necessarily comes with some epistemic embarrassment. But this is the price any Christian who is honest about the origins of her tradition must pay. Unlike the teachings of, say, Confucius or Buddha, most of which have their basis in trial-and-error and rational inquiry, the Christian gospel does not. Paul is not ashamed to admit this. I suggest that those who see Paul as an authority ought to as well.
Authors retain copyright and grant the Journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this Journal.
This is an open access journal, and the authors and journal should be properly acknowledged, when works are cited.
Authors may use the publishers version for teaching purposes, in books, theses, dissertations, conferences and conference papers.
A copy of the authors’ publishers version may also be hosted on the following websites:
- Non-commercial personal webpage or blog.
- Institutional webpage.
- Authors Institutional Repository.
The following notice should accompany such a posting on the website: “This is an electronic version of an article published in Scriptura, Volume XXX, number XXX, pages XXX–XXX”, DOI. Authors should also supply a hyperlink to the original paper or indicate where the original paper (http://scriptura.journals.ac.za/pub) may be found.
Authors publishers version, affiliated with the Stellenbosch University will be automatically deposited in the University’s’ Institutional Repository SUNScholar.
Articles as a whole, may not be re-published with another journal.
The following license applies: