The twenty-first century is proving to be a challenging time for Jewish-Christian relations. 2008-2009 is the bi-millennial anniversary of Paul’s birth, a figure not unproblematic for Jewish-Christian dialogue. On different levels initiatives are being taken to promote Paul and his legacy. Our Leuven interdisciplinary research project on the New Perspectives on Paul and the Jews is seeking to address the issue of Paul and his relationship to Judaism in an academic setting. An important feature of our project consists in the fact that the exegetical issues are being discussed in a larger hermeneutical, theological and dialogical framework.
The conference is organised around 8 topics:
- What nomenclatures best represent the Judaism that Paul was in dialogue with: covenantal nomism, variegated nomism, ethical monotheism, etc.? What are the notions of covenant or works-righteousness that lie behind the use of these terms?
- Is covenant a central notion in Paul? What are the merits of a semantic domain linkage between diatheke and dikaiosyne? Can one argue for an embedded covenantal framework in Paul’s thought? If so, does this framework supersede the Mosaic covenant (cp. 2 Cor 3:7-18)?
- What is the relationship between creation and covenant in Paul’s thinking, specifically the motif of kaine diatheke and kaine ktisis (2 Cor 3 and 5 respectively)?
- Does Paul move away from an Israel kata sarka to a notion of Israel kata pneuma? Is the new reality the ekklesia tou theou? Is this church part of, or distinct from, Israel?
- Was Paul Torah-observant? Did Paul’s Christ transcend the Law, embody it or something else? Is Paul in continuity or discontinuity with the prophetic reading of the Law? Is Paul an interpreter or manipulator of Israel’s scriptures?
- What is the relationship between Pauline studies and Jewish-Christian dialogue? Should Pauline studies take into account the post-Shoah context of contemporary ecumenical and interreligious dialogue between Christians and Jews?
- Are the classical interreligious and soteriological models of exclusivism, inclusivism and pluralism acceptable or useful for Christian/Jewish dialogue? How do they relate to the typical dialogical positions of single and double covenant schemes? What is the best way forward?
- Are the religious ends of Christianity and Judaism compatible? Is the church in mission with or in mission to the Jews? How should this apparent tension be portrayed in homiletics, liturgy, catechetics, etc?
The programme will consist of offered papers and panel discussions. The following scholars have already confirmed their participation:
- Michael Bachmann (Germany)
- Michael Bird (UK)
- Thomas Blanton IV (USA)
- William Campbell (UK)
- Philip Cunningham (USA)
- James Dunn (UK) Unfortunately unable to come at the last minute but has offered to contribute an Epilogue to the seminar publication
- Hans Hermann Henrix (Germany)
- Daniel Langton (UK)
- Mark Nanos (USA)
- John Pawlikowski (USA)
- Anne-Marie Reijnen (Belgium)
- Hans-Joachim Sander (Austria)