Quote of the Day and First Thoughts on Lincicum’s Work

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After long years of reciting, praying, memorizing, debating, teaching, and ordering his life in conformity with its precepts, Paul the Pharisee had an unexpected hermeneutical irruption in his understanding of Deuteronomy. (p117)

The causes of Paul’s ‘hermeneutical irruption’ is not of scholarly concern at the moment, as Paul’s change in course is beyond the realms of the scientific method; however, Lincicum notes that Paul’s change of course is do to a visionary encounter with the resurrected Jesus, ‘whom he then recognized as Lord and Christ.’ At this moment, Paul’s Judiasm didn’t cease nor his use of all of his litgurical learning, meditations and daily study of the Holy Writings. Paul, instead, was a Jew who read the Book of Deuteronomy like others Jews and became a Jew who, like other Jews, read the Book of Deuteronomy but after this moment would read it through the prism of Christ.

Lincincum aptly shows that Deuteronomy was an important text to the Jews  (and various Judaisms) at the time, being used in a variety of rituals in the daily life of the believer. Further, he notes the large amounts of manuscripts found and saved through antiquity, the use of Deuteronomy in the tefillin, and the manner in which Deuteronomy is weaved through extra- and non-canonical sources such at Tobit and Philo. Here, I think, however, is his weakest points. To show that writers used Deuteronomy is easy enough, but in several cases he is only able to show a basic structure which is similar. Not a large distraction from his work overall, but the weakest. What is interesting, however, is that Lincicum is able to how the rich and deep presence which Deuteronomy has with communities such as Qumran which regularly interpreted Deuteronomy to fit their present day needs (p81, cf Philo p116). Our author is even able to show that Philo senses that Deuteronomy is not merely a book among the whole, an intertext he calls it, but a book but itself (p115). His point then, which he makes on p56, that ‘Deuteronomy was an emphatically public book, and one which specifically  commended its own internalization  and memorization’ is important to remember as he proceeds throughout the rest of his argument. After all, if, with all the evidence that Lincicum is able to bring to bear, Deuteronomy is just that important to the various Judaisms at the time, then it is no surprise that Paul is as familiar with it as he is.

These are only first thoughts, with the review once I’m done.

Joel L. Watts
Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

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