The confessional element in the Paulines
Scharer, Fletcher Hastings
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In the past the most common approach to the teachings of Paul has been the theological approach, which is characterized by a technical and scientific method of study. Paul has been regarded as having been primarily a theologian who gave the Christian faith an elaborate and speculative theological system. He is pictured as having deliberately worked out a technical system of dogmatic thought. However, in recent years students of the New Testament have been questioning the validity of this traditional approach to Paul. They have felt that to regard Paul as being primarily a theologian was to lose the real Paul and to fail to catch his true spirit. While some aspects of this new conception of Paul have been investigated by scholarly research, the question of the confessional element in his passages has not been made the subject of a special investigation. The purpose of this dissertation was to make such a study. The problem was to show that there is this body of material in Paul's writings which cannot be satisfactorily understood or accounted for without a recognition of its confessional nature. These passages reflect his experience of God and Christ; they are his witness to the love and grace of God through Christ as validated through his personal experience. For these affirmations of faith and experience Paul did not attempt to give a systematic account or theoretical proof. In fact, no such proof is possible.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Boston University, 1939