The State of Faith Language in Paul: A Critique of Recent Proposals

Pauline scholarship has witnessed a surge of interest regarding the apostle’s use of faith language but in a way that is not limited to the well-worn pistis Christou debate which has dominated discussions since Richard Hays’s seminal work The Faith of Jesus Christ (1983). Recent studies have broadened the scope of inquiry to a comprehensive examination of πίστις/πιστεύω within the Pauline corpus. Three publications within the past five years especially stand out in this regard: (1) Roy A. Harrisville III’s The Faith of St. Paul: Transformative Gift of Divine Power (2019); (2) Nijay K. Gupta’s Paul and the Language of Faith (2020); and (3) Kevin W. McFadden’s Faith in the Son of God: The Place of Christ-Oriented Faith within Pauline Theology (2021). The purpose of this paper is to bring these three works into conversation with one another by comparing their following shared elements: (1) method; (2) examination of OT influence on pistis language; (3) examination of Greco-Roman influence on pistis language; (4) exegesis of key pistis texts in the Pauline corpus; (5) positions on the pistis Christou issue; (6) explanations of the relationship between faith and obedience; and (7) implications of pistis analysis for Pauline theology. The objective is not to favor one work over the others. Rather, it is to determine how these studies complement and or challenge one another with an eye towards how they collectively inform the interpreter’s understanding of Paul’s faith language.

3 thoughts on “The State of Faith Language in Paul: A Critique of Recent Proposals”

  1. Pistis Language
    This paper proposal covers more ground than 40 minutes allow. A comparison of the 3 authors would be helpful, but the 7 comparisons need to be concise and there needs to be a handout.

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