It’s the End of the World as Paul Knew It


As C. Marvin Pate points out from the get-go, “[The apostle] Paul was a product of three worlds: Greco-Roman, Jewish, and Christian.” This collision of worldviews (and the sub-worldviews within — e.g., Caesar-worship, Stoicism, Platonism, and especially the “Judaizers” so often confronted in both the Acts and epistles), then, heavily informed Paul’s responses and eschatology throughout much of the New Testament.
And as we edge closer to the last days, Pate gives us both a sense of the original context and a lens through which we too can begin to “see darkly” at least some of what Paul saw and often openly confronted.
apostle of the last daysC. Marvin Pate. Apostle of the Last Days: The Life, Letters, and Theology of Paul. 320p., $22.99, Kregel Academic.

Between the two bracket-chapters of Paul as “apocalyptic seer” and a summary of Paul’s end-times theology are in-depth analyses of each of Paul’s letters from an eschatological viewpoint—and again, the particular contexts he’s responding to in each of those letters. (Actually, the pastoral letters are treated in a single chapter.)

Quite a bit of time is spent on Paul’s responses to Jewish Merkebah mysticism, which I confess I knew nothing about prior to reading this book (think of it as late OT/early NT-era kabbalah), especially in the chapter on Colossians. The Roman imperial cult (i.e., Caesar as god) gets its fair share of examination here, too, especially in the chapters on Ephesians, Colossians and the pastorals.

It’s probably obvious by now that this is a very scholarly book. It’s not for everyone. Still, for those who can put in the work, Apostle of the Last Days will bring you deeper into Paul’s world—as well as deeper sense of the world to come, where Jesus awaits—and a better sense of how to respond to today’s own collision of worldviews.

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About carlsimmonslive

See the About Me page, if you want to know more about ME. Otherwise, hopefully you'll know more about Jesus and some of his followers by reading here. And thanks for stopping by.
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