Fredriksen and possible ways to understand the failure of Paul’s eschatology


Paula Fredriksen, in Paul, the Pagan’s Apostle, holds that Paul expected the return of Christ
in his generation. If Paul (and Jesus) thought the apocalyptic coming of the kingdom of God would happen in the first century, how are we in the 21st century to understand this?

One way is to dismiss it entirely.

But what if we take seriously the claim of Paul and other early disciples to have encountered Jesus after his death?

In that case, although the full apocalyptic scenario envisioned failed to happen, we still have a radically transcendent event, a divine breaking into history.

A popular way to understand this is to put a second coming into a long-delayed future end-time. There are several ways people do this and they usually involve highly speculative interpretations of the Book of Revelation.

There is also something called the preterist view that claims that the events predicted (or…

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About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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