Thursday, July 9, 2009
Paul and the mystery in 1 Corinthians
Benjamin L. Gladd is Adjunct Assistant Professor of New Testament at Wheaton College; Revealing the MYSTERION: The Use of Mystery in Daniel and Early Judaism with Its Bearing on First Corinthians, is a revision of his Ph.D. dissertation done under the supervision G.K. Beale at Wheaton Graduate School.
Here is a section from a book review I am writing for this work.
...Chapter 5 connects Paul’s use of mystērion in 1 Cor. 4:1 with Dan. 2:20-23. Gladd argues that Paul understands himself in ways consistent with Daniel, as did the Teacher of Righteousness and Josephus (181). Furthermore, he argues that ‘not beyond what is written’ in 1 Cor.4:6, refers to the various references from Israel’s scriptures 1 Cor. 1-4. Gladd contends that Paul’s desire in 1 Cor. 4:1-6 was to present himself as a faithful steward of the mysteries of God. Moreover, Paul’s argument is directed only to the leaders in Corinth and not the whole community.
Chapter 6 Gladd researches the use of mystērion in 1 Cor. 13:2 and 14:2. He rightly notes that the use of mystērion in these passages is not as fully developed as in other parts of 1 Corinthians. In 1 Cor. 13:2, the focus is still on revelation while it may plausibly be applied “to inspired exegesis or further insight into OT Scripture” (221-22). In 1 Cor. 14:2, Gladd argues that Paul draws on Dan. 2:46-47, combining both the personal and eschatological dimensions of mystērion that are also evident in Qumran and some forms of apocalyptic Judaism....
Gladd's done top drawer work and these monograph provides keen insight into Paul's use of mystery in 1 Corinthians.