Jesus as Paul’s Hermeneutical Key

Regarding the place of Jesus in Paul’s hermeneutic, James Aageson suggests that

[Paul’s] hermeneutic is inherently theological and is governed by his experience on the Damascus road and its legacy. From a persecutor of the early church, Paul was transformed into a man with a mission to carry the name of Jesus to the Gentile world. The divine mystery that was revealed to Paul in Christ opens for him new ways of reading and listening to the ancient texts of the Jewish people. His belief in Christ is both an experience and a conviction that, in his eyes, allows him to comprehend the “true” meaning of the religion of his people and their sacred texts (155–56).

The scare quotes (“true”) suggest, on Aageson’s part, at least some reluctance to give an imprimatur to what he considers to be Paul’s view of proper meaning(s) for scripture read in light of Jesus (cf. 158, 180), but Jesus certainly played a constitutive role for Paul’s hermeneutic and, under Paul’s influence and teaching, the churches that Paul planted and the congregations that he addressed.


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Hearing the Old Testament in the New Testament
Stanley Porter

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