You Can’t Convince Everyone: Diglotting Reviews My Chapter in ‘Is This Not the Carpenter’

I’m very grateful to Kevin Brown of Diglotting for reviewing my chapter.  He summarizes my article nicely here:

The key thrust of Verenna’s essay is that “Paul did not believe his Jesus was ever historical in the first place” (132), mentioning in an accompanying footnote that he isn’t necessarily arguing against the historicity of Jesus, but only that one cannot find such a historical figure using Paul’s epistles. He sets out using “a method formed from analyzing intertextuality” (132), with the intent of showing that “what Paul is interpreting, what he is expressing, is not an earthly figure, but an allegorical one” (133). Thus, this essay is “an attempt to look past modern interpretations of Paul, which are far too focused on discovering what he has to say about an assumed historical entity – Jesus – and less about discovering how Paul’s initial audience would have understood his meaning” (135).

via Review of Is This Not the Carpenter? (Part II) « Diglotting.

But to be clear, the statement “Paul did not believe his Jesus was ever historical in the first place” is slightly tongue-in-cheek.  My overall point is to (1) demonstrate that the way Paul is currently interpreted is through a Gospel lens rather than on his own accord and (2) show that Paul cannot be used as a witness to a historical Jesus and that current attempts to do so take for granted (a) Paul’s mystic language as a function towards (b) explaining his esoteric theology to other initiates.

Understandably Kevin dislikes my copious amounts of footnotes (but in order to conserve space, I had to relegate a lot to footnotes).  He also doesn’t find any of my interpretations particularly convincing.   Though he finds my attempts ‘spirited’.

I’d also like to draw attention to our discussion in the comments.  It has ended (I conceded him the last word) but it was an enjoyable exchange and Kevin Brown makes for a well-informed and challenging sparring partner.

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