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

Wrede – 11/3/2011


Wrede spends the bulk of his time discussing the nature of Christ as it relates to Paul’s doctrine. For Wrede this means examining ‘the Person’ and ‘the Work’ of Christ’.  For Wrede, this is central to understanding how Paul functions within and outside of Judaism, in terms of what he feels is two central issues in Paul: his Doctrine of Redemption and his opposition to Judaism.

In terms of criticism, I believe that it is overreaching for Wrede to state that that today there is no one who understands Paul’s thoughts “in the sense in which they were really meant.” I also find fault with Wrede’s overt modernism – in terms of his presumptuously painting Paul as pervasively superstitious in terms of  his belief in spirits. This is specious reasoning.  Furthermore, I believe that Wrede accuses Paul of crypto-Docetism when he accuses Pauline theology as presenting Christ as “an impalpable phantom”. Wrede also seems to hint that Pauline theology has shades of Gnostic Dualism – in that it is all about transferring one’s spiritual awareness into a “suprasensual region” and that Redemption is more then just “liberation from the body” but also being “freed from the bonds of the body and from the earthly world.”             I also disagree with Wrede when he says that “The whole picture of redemption has something impersonal and cold about it.” I believe that if it is so, for Wrede – then it is consequential to his overt Modernism, and his own understanding of theology as being devoid of any allowable mysticism and/or a classicist-medieval Weltanschauung. Wrede writes of the “remoteness of modern thought from that of Paul.”  I believe that it can be argued that it is not Paul who needs to be moved out of a non-Modern context – but rather Wrede needs to reassess his own Modernism.


Word Count: 300



About hollerscholar

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