The Apostle Paul: His Life and Testimony

The 23rd Annual Sidney B. Sperry Symposium

Book Notice

The Apostle Paul: His Life and Testimony: The 23d Annual Sidney B. Sperry Symposium, Brigham Young University, 1994 (Deseret Book, 1994)

Each of the twelve essays compiled from papers given at the 1994 Sperry Symposium is worth reading. Some pieces are homiletic, others scholarly. All treat either Paul’s milieu or his epistles, several using methods of biblical criticism to elucidate Paul’s literary and historical context. From their faithful viewpoints, authors refreshingly engage questions such as, Can Paul’s epistles be read as a secondary account of resurrection eyewitnesses, collectively acting as another “gospel”? (R. L. Anderson: Yes.) Has new documentary evidence pronounced Paul a Jewish heretic, Hellenistic philosopher, or sui generis Christian? (C. W. Griggs: None of the above. Paul’s documented identities are ambiguous.) Was the Jerusalem Council the first general conference or a preschismatic caucus? (R. J. Matthews: More the latter; however, the impending crisis was diverted by leaders’ diplomatic patience.)

Several articles offer philological critiques: interpreting Paul’s “adoption” as “redeemed by a kinsman” (J. C. Lane); distinguishing Paul’s “rhetoric” from evil “sophistry” (G. L. Hatch); and analyzing Christ’s “emptiness” in Hebrews (C. J. Ostler).

Exposition pieces of Pauline doctrines (interpreted in comparison with other LDS scripture) include these topics: the witness of the Holy Ghost (R. C. Reeve Jr.); spiritual gifts as signs and/or blessings (R. C. Freeman); Paul’s major themes—for example, justification and exclusive salvation (R. L. Millet); the worldwide mission of the Church (G. Stathearn); upright living (J. G. Scott); and beneficial martyrdom (M. W. Middleton).


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