On Worship and Salvation

Forthcoming Releases
The Letters of Paul as Rituals of Worship
Now is the Day of Salvation

We are excited to announce two titles on one of the most influential authors of the New Testament. To this day, the Biblical letters of Paul the Apostle, otherwise known as Saint Paul or Saul of Taurus, determine Christian thinking and practice. During his lifetime, his doctrine set up communal systems of belief and after his death it had considerable impact on the development of the global church. Due to his influence Paul has become a prominent subject not only for Biblical studies but even for the entertainment industry and the arts.

Conversion of Saint Paul, a fresco by Michelangelo.

This might also be caused by the controversies surrounding the Apostle. From where we stand, Paul appears to have been a radical thinker who did not shy away from contentious matters, who can be seen as responsible for defining the woman’s subordinate position in the church (“Now I permit a woman neither to teach nor exercise authority over a man, but let her be in quietness.” 1 Tim. 2:12–15) and who spoke out against same-sex relationships.

In case of the latter one it needs to be said that the references to ‘homosexuality’ in the Pauline Letters hinge on the interpretation of two specific Greek words, arsenokoitēs (ἀρσενοκοίτης) and malakos (μαλακός). But it seems safe to say that his writings have made a contribution to the discourse on the acceptability of homosexuality, a major topic within the church even today. However, homosexuality is no longer just an ecclesiastical issue but also fighting for acceptance outside the church. Barack Obama’s decision of making gay marriage a part of his presidential campaign underlines the fact that the subject of homosexuality has grown to become an issue the entire western society is concerned with – a society that is referring to the Bible, and thus to the writings of Paul, to see what is right and what is wrong.

            This blog entry, however, does not intend to accuse Paul and his writing to be an elemental force causing homophobia and patriarchal thinking as it still exists in parts of the Christian community. Rather the passage above intends to demonstrate the impact of the Pauline Epistles and that the reception, to this day, is an important part of the Christian doctrine.

The Apostle Paul, as portrayed by Sir Anthony Hopkins.doctrine.

            Both our forthcoming releases, John Paul Heil’s The Letters of Paul as Rituals of Worship and Timothy Milinovich’s Now is the Day of Salvation, focus on the epistles as performative works and the effects they have on the recipient, when the authors examine the letters’ structure, their contexts and Paul’s thorough choice of words.

            Heil’s Letters of Paul analyses each of the thirteen epistles as a unique Pauline ritual of worship, as an act of devotion towards God, containing performative utterances, a framework of prayer-greetings for divine grace and the respective use of language. Even though, as the author acknowledges, there are valid doubts about Paul’s authorship in connection to several of the written accounts, this, Heil recognizes, is what they all have in common. Heil makes apparent that with each of the letters Paul aims at making his audience participate in an act of worship.

            Timothy Milinoch’s Now is the Day of Salvation approaches Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, which had the apparent function to repair the Apostles relationship with his community after the rough reception of 1 Corinthians, with the use of an audience oriented method. From there, the book, a revised version of his doctoral dissertation written under the direction of non-other than John Paul Heil, raises the question whether 2 Corinthians has to be understood as a performance rather than just a text. This ‘text-centred’ analysis intends to give insights to how the authorial audience, a hypothetical ideal assembly of Corinthian listeners the author had in mind while he was creating the text, responds to the oral presentation.

            For information on these titles, or if you would like to review one of the books, contact us via www.jamesclarke.co.

The Letters of Paul as Rituals of Worship

by John Paul Heil

ISBN: 9780227680070

Release Date: 28/06/2012

 

 

 

Now is the Day of Salvation
An Audience-Oriented Study of 2 Corinthians 5:16-6:2

by Timothy Milinovich

ISBN: 9780718892647

Release Date: 28/06/2012

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