Archive for September 22nd, 2009

Ephesians as the “Quintessence” of Paulinism?

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

I have already noted some initial comments about James D. G. (“Jimmy”) Dunn’s new book Beginning from Jerusalem, volume 2 of his trilogy “Christianity in The Making.” I want to continue making a few other observations

Unlike some other scholars who don’t think Paul wrote Ephesians, Dunn is quite fond of Ephesians (“one of the most attractive documents in the NT” [p. 1106]), agreeing with the well-known comment of F.F. Bruce (Paul: Apostle of the Heart Set Free, ch. 36) that Ephesians is the “quintessence of Paulinism.” Dunn is so fond of Ephesians because he believe it captures the essential movement and message of the first Christian communities more fully (30-70 CE; see, e.g., his conclusion to the book on p. 1175), perhaps, than any other NT document: the unity of Gentiles and Jews in Christ (pp. 1109-1115 plus a beautiful footnote [#398] on p. 489[*see below]). Dunn believes that Ephesians 1-3 eloquently expresses what Paul was “all about.” In addition, its high view of the church, together with its emphasis on being in Christ and on the Spirit, makes “Ephesians a fitting tribute to Paul and fully deserving of the accolade of providing ‘the quintessence of Paulinism’” (p. 1122).

*Dunn, p. 489, n. 308, commenting on Romans and Ephesians:

“The surmounting of these ancient hostilities [between Jews and Gentiles] was not merely a by-product of the gospel, far less a distraction from the true meaning of the gospel, but the climactic achievement of the gospel, the completion of God’s purposes from the beginning of time.”

What do the rest of you think of all this?