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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

The Reception of Paul and Early Christian Initiation: History and Hermeneutics
Edsall, Benjamin A.

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019 pp. xi + 331. $99.99

Description: This book breaks new ground in New Testament reception history by bringing together early Pauline interpretation and the study of early Christian institutions. Benjamin Edsall traces the close association between Paul and the catechumenate through important texts and readers from the late second century to the fourth century to show how the early Church arrived at a wide-spread image of Paul as the apostle of Christian initiation. While exploring what this image of Paul means for understanding early Christian interpretation, Edsall also examines the significance of this aspect of Pauline reception in relation to interpretive possibilities of Paul's letters. Building on the analysis of early interpretations and rhetorical images of the Apostle, Edsall brings these together with contemporary scholarly discourse. The juxtaposition highlights longstanding continuity and conflict in exegetical discussions and dominant Pauline images. Edsall concludes with broader hermeneutical reflections on the value of historical reception for New Testament Studies.

Subjects: Bible, New Testament, Pauline Epistles, Literature, Methods, Social-Scientific Approaches, Reception History

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Review by Janelle Peters
Published 8/19/2020
Citation: Janelle Peters, review of Benjamin A. Edsall, The Reception of Paul and Early Christian Initiation: History and Hermeneutics, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2020).


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