K:JNWTS 29/2 (September 2014):31-39
Stephen Westerholm, ed., The Blackwell Companion to Paul. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2011. 634pp. Cloth. ISBN: 978-1-4051-8844-9. $79.95.
This volume is superior to the Blackwell Companion to Jesus, perhaps because it is edited by Stephen Westerholm. It is more balanced with a greater variety of contributions by conservative, moderate and more critical scholars. Westerholm describes this volume as an attempt at dialogue between biblical scholars and theologians. The first part of the companion consists in biblical studies. The second part deals with the history of Pauline interpreters and the third part revolves around the legacy of Paul. This last section covers Paul in art and literature followed by a select set of chapters dealing with theological topics in Paul and the history of their interpretation.
The first part has some useful historical studies dealing with the Pauline chronology, followed by Paul and the believers in Macedonia, Corinth, Galatia, Western Asia and Rome. This continues a chapter on the Pastoral Epistles and the portrait of Paul in Acts. These historical studies are followed by a set of chapters dealing with topics in the Pauline letters often dealt with by biblical scholars, such as Paul’s gospel, his view of Scripture and Christology. With these are chapters dealing with Paul’s relationship to the Jewish people and his view of the law. These are followed by a chapter on the text of the Pauline corpus and several chapters basically covering the areas of Socio-Rhetorical Criticism, rhetoric in Paul’s letters, the social setting of the Pauline communities, women in those churches and Paul and Empire. The latter is really a distinct chapter written by N. T. Wright, following his political/eschatological view of Paul’s relation to the empire.
In the chapter on the Pastoral Epistles, I. Howard Marshall takes the view that sections of the Pastorals were written by Paul and compiled by his later followers. The author takes this view because he is giving deference to some of the liberal arguments against Pauline authorship. One of these arguments is that Paul’s undisputed letters begin with doctrine and then argue its ethical implications, whereas the Pastorals begin with an ethical perspective and then use doctrine to support it. In other words, Paul used indicative/imperative before and now the Pastorals use imperative/indicative. However, in response to this argument, we note that the theological structure of both perspectives is identical—the imperatives are fundamentally grounded in the indicative of salvation. To speak of the imperatives first and then show their grounding in the indicative grounds them as much in the indicative as stating the indicative first and then showing the results of this ground in the imperatives. In addition, this shift is only one of emphasis, that is, there are more imperative/indicative structures in the Pastorals than there are in the previous letters. However, they are found in the previous letters as well, e.g., “work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:12-13). And the general indicative/imperative structures are found in the Pastorals. For instance, consider how the indicative precedes moral instruction in “for the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age” (Titus 2:11-12).
A second argument presented by higher critics is that the Pastorals use more adjectives and nouns than the undisputed Pauline letters. Marshall seems to concede some weight to these and other arguments in his own view. While 1 Timothy (as Marshall states) indicates that it was also intended to be read to the churches, we believe further research could be done on the how the personal address of the letter may have influenced some of its unique differences. Other factors to consider are the later date of the Pastorals at a time when Paul may have already visited Spain and the crisis that was probably brewing in the churches of the Aegean.
Numerous scholars have argued that the portrait of Paul in Acts is different from that of the epistles. In the chapter on this subject, Stanley E. Porter largely shows that many of the supposed differences are not real. At the same time, he leaves room for too much of a wedge at certain points. For example, he simply notes there is debate on whether the Paul of the epistles drew on Hebrew sources.
James Dunn authored the chapter on the gospel according to St. Paul. As usual, he argues that “gospel” (good news) is coopted from the world of Cesar and his ‘good news’. He also rightly shows that Paul probably got it from Isaiah’s prophecy about the coming of God’s kingdom. Dunn is formally correct here, but it is Dunn’s view of the kingdom that is non-Pauline. Dunn includes his mistaken understanding of justification in this chapter. He then points to the doctrine of the Holy Spirit as if the church has not done justice to that doctrine. He has neglected the rich development of that doctrine found in the Reformed churches as represented in Abraham Kuyper’s book on the subject and developed in Geerhardus Vos’s article “The Eschatological Aspect of the Pauline Conception of the Spirit”.
J. Ross Wagner’s chapter on Paul and Scripture covers the subject in detail, though it could do more justice to Paul’s redemptive-historical and eschatological interpretation of Old Testament prophesy.
Simone J. Gathercole’s article on Christology is well informed and generally argues that Paul taught the deity of Christ. However, he concludes that Paul also taught that Christ is subordinate to the Father. Gathercole makes this brief statement without further elaboration. And this leaves open the possibility that the second person of the Trinity was eternally subordinate to the Father or possibly that the Son is a lesser divine being than the Father. The latter possibility is surely at odds with Paul’s teaching that the Son is divine, for divinity entails eternal omnipresence and thus eternal coexistence and equality with the Father. Such equality of being also implies that the Son was not eternally subordinate to the Father. The only subordination that fits with Paul’s understanding of Christology is that found in the gospels, in which Jesus Christ in relationship to his human nature alone subordinates his will to the Father.
Arland J. Hultgren’s chapter on Paul and the law does not seem to this reviewer to break new ground. Hultgren claims (among other things) that for Paul Christians are no longer under the moral prescripts of the Mosaic law. He does claim that Paul repeats these Mosaic prescripts to show the obligations Christians have in Christ, but only because they also serve as the content of the law of Christ. Thus, he denies the organic relationship that unfolds from Moses to Christ. In support of the Reformed perspective (in which Christians are under the moral law of Moses as a rule of life), we believe that Paul recognizes that Christ kept the moral law of Moses and now Christians keep that moral law in union with Christ. In other words, the Mosaic moral law finds its organic unfolding in Christ, in whom the Christian is to live. This organic perspective of the Mosaic moral law and its relationship to Christians does better justice to the fact that Paul quotes these passages from the Old Testament itself. This can be no less true of the moral commandments Paul quotes than the prophetic passages he quotes. That is, when Paul quotes Old Testament prophetic passages, he teaches that they have been organically unfolded in Christ and so the church lives under that prophetic fulfillment and authority. So also, when Paul quotes the Mosaic moral commandments, he implies that the church lives under their organic fullness and authority.
Chapters appear on textual criticism and analyzing the text with Rhetorical Criticism. Dirk Jongkind writes a chapter on the text of the Pauline corpus, which to a non-specialist in textual criticism (such as this reviewer) appears to be a set of useful reflections in lower textual criticism. This is followed by Jean-Noel Aletti’s often helpful chapter on rhetoric in Paul’s letters; helpful that is in terms of his considerations on ancient rhetoric However, Aletti must be read carefully, especially when he engages in the relationship between ancient rhetoric and modern rhetoric. Aletti claims that we must sometimes critique the soundness of Paul’s rhetorical arguments for the present era. For example, Aletti states that Paul’s argument in 1 Cor. 15 presumes that there is simply discontinuity between a seed and the plant that grows from it; but today we realize (from modern science) that there is continuity between them. We believe Aletti’s example represents more his misinterpretation of Paul and the ancient world than anything else. In the ancient world, Aristotle argued that the seed of a plant has the form of the adult plant within it and there is no reason to believe that Paul thought differently. In fact, Paul’s argument in 1 Cor. 15 presumes both continuity and discontinuity. The following verse (1 Cor. 15:39) argues for several different types of flesh, but presumes that they all have the continuity of being “flesh”. Next is the comparison between earthly and heavenly bodies which have continuity in that both possess “glory” (1 Cor. 15:40). The discontinuity cannot be pushed radically or it would suggest that Paul believed that there is a radical discontinuity between stars, which he says also differ in glory (v. 41), like earthly and heavenly bodies.
Finally, Aletti also inappropriately ascribes much of Paul’s rhetoric to paradox. For instance, he claims that when Paul says that Christ became poor in order to make many rich, this is paradoxical. That is, for Aletti, Paul does not explain how this is possible. So it is a paradox. However, this cannot be maintained unless we interpret Paul in an overly rigid fashion. For such statements should be interpreted in light of Paul’s overall discourse, in which Christ is our substitute. He takes upon himself our poverty and gives us his riches. This is not a paradox, but the coherent content of the apostle’s gospel seen in light of the Old Testament’s view of sacrifice and substitution.
This is followed by Gerd Theissen’s chapter on the social setting of Pauline communities. While we believe the most helpful studies in the social world of Paul fall under the category of special introduction (dealing with social life in specific cities like Ephesus and Corinth), this general introduction is helpful in its place. Theissen has some underlying critical assumptions, leading one to believe that he thinks the text primarily arises out of the social setting rather than from the presence of God in his heavenly society. At the same time, this does not dominate his discussion and he has an assortment of social insights that can be useful when sifted through appropriately.
Margaret Y. MacDonald’s chapter on women in the Pauline churches has some insights, notably those that show the equal dignity of men and women in Christ. Such equal dignity speaks against the tyrannical use of authority by men over women. At the same time, MacDonald short changes the Pauline teaching on the headship of men in which a man is called to build up a woman (1 Cor. 11:3). Paul sees harmony in these two elements (as we understand it) in his semi-eschatological perspective. That is, the heavenly union of equality (Gal. 3:28) transcends all earthly forms of authority and can exist alongside them in this age. Such coexistence allows these two elements to enrich one another in Christ—the liberty continuing under authority and the authority nurturing liberty. MacDonald’s dislike of authority also shows itself in her view of Scripture. She does not even tip her hat to the authority of Paul’s writings. Instead, she comes close to stating explicitly (as do some other feminist theologians) that all she is doing is using Paul to promote her own version of feminism. But why involve Paul in this? She does this (as she sees it) to influence other women who are still (for some reason or another, as she puts it) under Paul’s influence. These elements suggest that this chapter does not represent the objectivity of truly historical biblical scholarship.
N. T. Wright’s chapter on Paul and Empire repeats arguments Wright has made elsewhere—that Paul’s rhetoric of empire was a critique of the Roman Empire and the Caesars. In Wright’s version of this critique, Paul is an eschatological/political transformationist who presents a transformed this-worldly eschatology in opposition to the this-worldly eschatology of the Caesars. Such a view does not comport with Paul’s transcendent eschatological perspective of the now and not yet, a view in which neither the source nor the nature of the kingdom is of this world.
The second part of this Companion begins with Peter Widdicombe’s chapter in which he lays out the influence of Paul on Origen. He notes that Origen had an essentially Trinitarian theology. Some readers will not appreciate his standard claim that Origen followed a form of allegorical exegesis. At the same time, he notes the influence of Origen on the later fourfold use of Scripture which includes the foundational importance of historical exegesis for the other three.
In the article on Augustine, Lewis Ayres articulates Augustine’s exegetical arguments for viewing the Holy Spirit as the love of God. He then relates this to Augustine’s doctrine of the Trinity and his view of grace in the Christian. As medieval theologians would later articulate, Augustine believed that the Holy Spirit (as the love of God) was the love that bound the Father and Son together in the Trinity. In terms of God’s work of grace in the Christian, Augustine argued that if the Holy Spirit is love then he is the essence of that love by which the Christian loves God. Thus, when the Christian loves God he is united to God the Spirit. That is, in the Christian’s love for God, it is the Spirit in him that is loving God the Spirit. Thus, it is God loving himself. We might put the two of these insights together and conclude that in loving God, the Christian is united to both the Father and the Son in their love for one another by the Spirit. That is, in his love for the Father, the Christian is united to the Son in his love for the Father. For both are loving the Father by and in the Spirit. And in his love for the Son of God, the Christian is united to the Father. For the Father also loves the Son by and in the Spirit. Thus, in their love for Father and Son, the Christian is united to the very life of the Trinity in the mutual love of the three persons of the Trinity for one another. Of course, this is true in such a way that does not bridge the creator/creature divide, but at the same time is a real union and communion of eternal life and love in God.
In the chapter on Aquinas, Matthew Levering focuses on the Christian virtues as articulated by Aquinas. He shows Aquinas’s exegetical indebtedness to Paul in this articulation.
In his discussion of Luther, Mickey L. Mattox rightly indicates that E. P. Sanders and some other advocates of the New Perspective have not properly understood Luther. Mattox notes a criticism of Krister Stendahl, who argued that Luther’s theology (unlike Paul’s) was oriented to the introspective conscience of the West. Mattox indicates that Luther did not always view the conscience as an accurate guide to the Christian’s standing before God and that the Christian is called to look outside herself (and thus outside her conscience) to the justifying verdict of Christ. And thus she is to renew her conscience (we might say) in the light of being imputed with Christ’s righteousness.
Mattox also discusses Luther’s distinction between the gift of God and the grace of God, spurred from Luther’s conversations with Philip Melanchthon in 1521. Melanchthon had developed such a distinction after reflecting on Erasmus’s annotations to the New Testament, according to Mattox. The distinction meant that the gift of God was something God did outside of us (namely) justification, while God’s grace was something God did within us. In other words, the gift and grace were not synonymous, as if both were referring only to the internal work of the Spirit, as Roman Catholic exegetes had assumed. In his discussion, Mattox claims that Luther took this distinction in a different direction than Melanchthon, arguing that Melanchthon’s formulation was a precursor to the later doctrine of imputed righteousness. This comment seems to suggest that Luther’s doctrine was not the doctrine of imputed righteousness or its precursor. To argue this point, Mattox points to places where Luther argues that God’s internal grace in our hearts and the faith it produces unites us to Christ. And in being united to Christ, we are given the gift of justification. However, we do not see how this suggests a doctrine different from imputed righteousness. For these statements of Luther could have been made by Calvin and any number of the second generation Reformers who argued for imputed righteousness. That is, Luther’s statements simply indicate that he believed that the Christian is regenerated by the Spirit and so is given the gift of faith. And it is this faith that unites him to Christ. In this union, the Christian is given the gift or justification which is the imputation of righteousness. Such statements do not imply that the vital union Christians have with Christ (by which their hearts are renewed) is the same thing as the forensic union they have with Christ (by which they are imputed with his righteousness). They simply imply that the faith Christians have by their vital union with Christ lays hold of the imputed righteousness of Christ which constitutes their forensic union with him. Even if Luther did not use these terms to describe this difference (as later theologians did), the distinction implied in them must be recognized as implicit in his theology in order to do justice to his many statements on justification as a whole. And it is certainly the case that the quotes given by Mattox do not argue that vital union and forensic union are one and the same in Luther. No such evidence exists.
In the article on Calvin, Anthony N. S. Lane discusses several issues. Among them is Calvin’s principles as an exegete. These include his penchant for brevity, but also his faithfulness to Scripture. Since Calvin was content to leave detailed theological discussions to the Institutes, his exegetical comments could be brief. But this also helped free him up to deal faithfully with the text. Calvin was careful not to use texts for his theological agenda. There were often texts which might be thought to support Calvin’s theological views which Calvin did not believe was the focus of that particular text, even though they were supported elsewhere in Scripture. In such cases, Calvin would note that this text should not be used to support a conclusion he otherwise thought correct. At the same time, Lane notes that Calvin’s theology would often serve as a corrective to possible misinterpretations of Scripture. For instance, Calvin denied that passages referred to by Semi-Pelagians in favor of the possibility of losing one’s salvation taught this doctrine. In this way, (we might say) Calvin recognized that Scripture must be used to interpret Scripture.
Lane placed some focus on Calvin’s view of double justification. Lane uses this term to describe Calvin’s view that not only are the saints justified, but their good works are also justified. That is, the taint of original sin that clings to the good works done through the Holy Spirit would keep them from being acceptable from the perfect justice of God if God did not also justify those works through the imputation of Christ’s righteousness. In this way, they are made acceptable and pleasing to God. This leads the Christian to a life of faith, hope and confidence in his obedience to God. And it leads him to cling to the perfect righteousness of Christ for all things in life and death.
The Companion then turns to a chapter on John and Charles Wesley by John R. Tyson. Tyson ascribes their evangelical awakening to the doctrine of justification by faith and its distinction from sanctification. He does not suggest a distinction between their doctrine of justification and that of the Reformation. He does state that Charles Wesley links the doctrine of justification to sanctification—sanctification making real our justification. He also describes their view of Christian perfection in this life. They sought to argue this from Rom. 2:29, Gal. 2:20, and Phil. 2:5; 3:12-13. However, none of these texts point in this direction. If (as is the case) Galatians was written before Philippians, then Paul cannot be saying in Galatians 2:20 that he has already reached perfection while later in Phil. 3:12-13, he is still seeking to attain it. Also the point of attainment in Phil. 3:12-13 is not in this life (as the Wesleys must assume), but at the resurrection. As for Rom. 2:29, it describes the identity of all Christians and not of a select group who have reached Christian perfection in this life. Finally, Phil. 2:5 speaks of the goal of obedience for which Christians are to strive, not something they can reach in full in this life. In addition to this, the Wesleys also argued their unique view of the witness of the Spirit from Rom. 8:16. More interesting for this reviewer was the influence of Paul’s texts on the hymns of Charles Wesley and how he often personalized the singer’s relationship with Christ as Paul did in Gal. 2:20.
This volume is deficient in its historical treatment insofar as it jumps from the Wesley’s straight to Karl Barth. It then proceeds to recent continental philosophers where it ends its Western Christian treatment of this historical survey. Among Biblical scholars, Albert Schweitzer and James Dunn are mentioned, though they receive no treatment. And there is no discussion of any other modern attempts to unearth the coherence of Paul’s thought in New Testament—studies such as we find in Hermann Ridderbos’s Paul: An Outline of His Theology and other authors.
The chapter on Barth by Richard E. Burnett emphasizes that Barth wished to stand alongside the authors he interpreted, until he felt as if he could actually speak for the author himself. That is, Barth took a sympathetic reading of the New Testament authors rather than standing at a distance from them. While he accepted the canons of higher criticism, he believed these were only the stepping stones to contemporary exegesis. Thus, he criticized most higher critics for simply presenting historical data and then arguing what parts of Paul could be accepted for modern man and which were influenced by an alien spirit stemming from the perspectives of the ancient world. Barth on the other hand, argued that all of what Paul wrote came from an alien spirit and was relevant for the present time simultaneously. By what criteria could the modern critic distinguish the two? It should be clear from these statements that Barth was not a traditional Protestant theologian. For while he criticized the critics, he also believed that everything Paul wrote was governed by an alien spirit. Reading between the lines of this chapter, one detects Barth’s view of Scripture—that the Bible is not the Word of God, but simply witnesses to the Word of God. That is, everything that Paul wrote was conditioned by the time in which he lived, together with its superstitions and myths. So it is not important for Barth that the New Testament record of Christ’s resurrection be historically accurate. Instead, through this alien spirit, God witnesses to the Word. Somehow the Word existentially encounters you through the witness of Scripture, but the Scriptures are not themselves the Word of God.
P. Travis Kroeker writes on the interpretation of Paul among recent continental philosophers, focusing on Jacob Taubes, Daniel Boyarin, Giorgio Agamben and Alain Badiou. It is interesting that these philosophers find themselves in the continental tradition with its often world-encompassing political and historical ideologies rather than other philosophical traditions, like Anglo-American and analytic philosophy. As such, each of these writers gives a political/eschatological interpretation of Paul that is more in keeping with their continental philosophical and Jewish (in the case of Taubes and Boyarin) political perspectives. The titles of some of their books make this plain—works like The Political Theology of Paul (Taubes, 2004); A Radical Jew: Paul and the Politics of Identity (Boyarin, 1994); Saint Paul: The Foundation of Universalism (Badiou, 2003). As with other this-worldly eschatological agendas, these philosophers mostly find their own reflection in Paul and provide little insight into his true meaning.
These treatments of Western Christian and secular thinkers are followed by other readings of Paul—those of various Jewish scholars, Eastern Orthodoxy and the African church. Daniel R. Langton gives us a gateway into modern Jewish views of Paul that have often been influenced by higher criticism. In the Eastern Orthodox treatment, Theodore G. Stylianopoulos notes that the Eastern Church did not have the soteriological debates of the Western Church. From this, he argues that Eastern Orthodoxy allowed a variety of perspectives on salvation. The claim is made that some thinkers argued for justification by faith apart from human merits. Some of this discussion sounds similar to Luther’s view of justification. And the refusal of merit and not simply Paul’s verbatim word “works” is encouraging and might spur some to do research in this area. However, apart from this, the language seems simply to be a repetition of Paul. It is not clear to this reviewer that any pre-Reformation Eastern Orthodox writers understood this in terms of the forensic imputation of Christ’s righteousness. This is especially the case when standard Eastern Orthodox theology does not generally think in terms of merit or lack thereof, but in mystical categories. It is generally content with the view that Christ provides an arena of salvation (the church) and those who mystically enter this arena are “saved”, without defining salvation in terms of a reward merited by Christ through his life, death and resurrection.
According to Stylianopoulos, the other emphasis in Eastern Orthodoxy is that the faith is not simply something to be understood intellectually, but is something to be lived through prayer, the liturgy and engagement in society. Again, we may think these are laudable teachings, even from the standpoint of the Reformation. However, while the Reformers recognized the existence of true believers in the Eastern Church, they believed (rightly in our view) that Eastern Orthodoxy was worse than Rome. For all of these emphases of Eastern Orthodoxy are understood within their mystical view of the liturgy and visible iconography. And this fits with their restitutionist vision of redeeming the societal structures of this age, as if returning to the original Garden of Eden. Still, this is an interesting chapter, especially for those not familiar with Eastern Orthodoxy.
Grant LeMarquand writes the chapter on African perspectives. He notes that some modern African theologians have rejected earlier colonial missionary perspectives on indigenous African spirituality. That is, earlier African missionaries during the colonial period of the nineteenth century would often critique the spiritual practices of native Africans as conducive to superstition and sinful systems of thought and action. These missionaries would note the superiority of the Christian system in leading to virtuous lives. Modern African theologians have claimed that Paul in Romans 1 critiques all systems of sin, including Christianity. If these writers are simply claiming that many within the external system and community of Christianity are condemned also by Roman 1, we agree. However, we suspect something else is at work here, possibly amongst modern liberal African theologians. If they are claiming that all in Christianity, even in their genuinely redeemed state stand condemned by Romans 1, we must disagree. Paul finds true believers justified and delivered from this wrath (Romans 3-5). In accord with this, the false worship in Romans 1 is reversed in Romans 15 among true believers in the church of Christ.
This volume concludes with part three on the legacy of Paul. These chapters discuss Paul’s legacy in art, literature and later Christian theology, including sin, the Holy Spirit, ethics and the church. Each of the chapters explores these subjects by surveying their influence on and formulation by the later church, including its artists, writers and theologians. Their influence on the broader world, including some philosophers, is occasionally explored as well. The chapters on art and literature are representative of their subjects, but are perhaps more of a showcase than a careful analysis on any particular work. Marguerite Shuster’s chapter on sin surveys the subject and generally focuses on the Augustinian perspective. Ralph Del Colle writes on the Spirit. Gilbert Meilaender’s chapter on ethics is interesting in that he attempts to relate Paul’s ethical teachings to other ethical theories from Aristotle’s ethics of virtue onward. However, he does not do justice to the priority of eschatological realization in Paul’s ethics. We believe this is central to Paul’s indicative/imperative presentation of life in union with Christ. Finally, Nicholas M. Healy writes on the church. He gives a helpful survey of the doctrine of the church from the early fathers to Augustine, John of Damascus, Aquinas, the later papacy, Luther, Schleiermacher and Barth. He rightly focuses on the importance of Augustine’s doctrine, including his distinction between the visible and invisible church. His claim that Augustine puts more emphasis on this distinction than Paul (Does he believe Paul really held to this distinction?) should be questioned. While Paul addresses all those in his churches as those in Christ, he also makes such statements as, “But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel” (Rom. 9:6). As many have seen, here Paul recognizes that there was a group within the visible church of Israel and these alone were the true Israel (the invisible church). Paul also warns those in his churches to remain steadfast, otherwise they will be finally lost. In other words, not all who are in the visible Christian church will be finally saved. For instance, in 1 Cor. 5:9-13 he states that immoral people such as the covetous, swindlers and idolaters should be cast out of the visible church. If these do not repent, they will be among the covetous, swindlers and idolaters who will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9-10). Thus, we may conclude that these people (once a part of the visible church) will not be found among the truly washed and cleansed (1 Cor. 6:11), the proper members of Christ’s church. Thus, when Paul addresses the whole church as in Christ, he implicitly allows for the distinction that some are only in Christ visibly, while the truly believing are both in Christ visibly and invisibly.
Overall, The Blackwell Companion to Paul presents a broad range of studies on Paul, more so than most other modern works. As such it should prove to be influential in the coming years. Yet this should not make us jump whole-heartedly on the bandwagon. It must be handled critically, in spite of the fact that it is not as radical as the publisher’s similar Companion to Jesus.
—Scott F. Sanborn