Krister Stendahl (On Paul and the Law; Viewpoints in the ‘New Perspective on Paul’)

Krister Stendahl – 10/13/2011



The crux of what Stendahl is speaking of in this writing is the importance of taking into consideration what might be termed “the modern mindset,” in regards to the general practice and style of traditional biblical hermeneutical interpretation. Stendahl argues that Augustine can be considered the first modern theologian, in that he articulated his own anxieties in his writing and sublimated them into this thought – giving rise to the modernist tradition – best typified by an archetypical internalization of piety. Given Augustine’s time as a Manichean – one can argue that that time/phase in his life continued to be pervasively influential – especially in regards to sexuality (which he is generally accepted as having had a far too condescending view of). Thus, such a view is potentially problematic in the larger scheme of things.


The question of modernization, however – is not to be readily dismissed. Rather, the appropriate use of such a tool – is a better question; especially within a use-standpoint. When does a ‘tool’ become a ‘foundation’ – or vice-versa?  And when (if ever) is it legitimately appropriate? Stendahl has an agenda and an argument – the question bears merit: is Stendahl confusing his ‘tool’ for his ‘foundation’?


I would argue that it may not necessarily be “striking” (as Stendahl puts it) that Paul never urges Jews to find in Christ the answer to an anguished conscience. It believe that it could be argued that there are corresponding tautologies in Paul’s rhetorical language that suggest otherwise.


Stendahl offers several challenging assertions in regards to how a modernist-influenced internalized piety has a hermeneutical consequence.  But, equally important, other conjectures can be equally posited: given the eschatological urgency and the important, albeit limited church structure of the early church – wouldn’t an externalized view be naturally, contextually prevalent? With the modern church as diversified in style and pervasive in presence, the focus would (arguably, by nature of sheer overload) switch to a more personable nature.









Total Word Count: 321


About hollerscholar

I'm a theology & philosophy student, writer, web developer, and medical laboratory professional.
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