September 27, 2006
Shimer Faculty Member John Meech’s
Paul in Israel’s Story Now Available
Paul in Israel's Story: Self and Community at the Cross by Shimer College Faculty and Alum John L. Meech is now available from Oxford University Press.
In this work, Dr. Meech provides a critical and nuanced engagement with recent Pauline studies on works, faith, the law, and justification. Paul in Israel's Story locates in St. Paul's letters a reply to the postmodern fragmentation of the self. Contemporary philosophers, Paul Ricoeur in particular, respond to the suspicion of the self from Descartes to Nietzsche through a reflexive questioning toward a self revealed in stories – Who speaks? Who acts? Who tells his or her story? And who is responsible? The self in St. Paul's story extends this philosophical questioning to stories of communities – stories that deepen our grasp of Paul's “I have been crucified with Christ” and “Christ lives in me.”
Bridging Paul’s story and the philosophy of the self is a critical engagement with Rudolf Bultmann, arguably the most influential biblical scholar of the 20th century. The book ends by resituating the postmodern self in community: Christians ought to understand themselves as called to embrace others in one community opened by the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Living by the Spirit of the crucified and resurrected Christ, this community may enter into dialogues that empty the self to embrace others as who they really are – in the hope that both sides will stand together in mutual esteem, respect, and responsibility for their own community’s true aim.
Paul in Israel's Story will interest biblical scholars, philosophers, and theologians alike, as well as people in churches, seminaries and universities searching out the philosophical implications of recent Pauline scholarship.
"John Meech's Paul in Israel's Story is an impressive achievement. The deft skill with which Meech integrates biblical criticism, philosophical commentary, and theological insight is innovative and invigorating. . . . Beautifully written, carefully researched, and highly recommended." --Mark I. Wallace author of Finding God in the Singing River: Christianity, Nature, Spirit