Shift of focus from Jesus' teachings to significance
of his life, crucifixion and resurrection.
From Tarsus in Asia Minor, Roman Citizen.
Pharisee, assigned to fight Christianity.
"The Road to Damascus"--Vision of Jesus (Acts 9),
becomes committed to Jesus.
Traveled through world preaching his message, setting up and guiding
churches (through epistles).
Imprisoned, dies in captivity in Rome.
Central themes of Paul's thought.
- Rejection of Law as a means of
- Salvation through faith in the atoning power of
- Humans are basically sinful and cannot be saved
through their own merit. Only the crucifixion can achieve
- Grace (agapé).
- Image of Abraham--Had faith in God before
observing any commandments.
- Law is external to people. It tells them what to
do, but does not transform them internally.
Mission to Gentiles:
Conflict in Church between:
- Jerusalem leadership
(James Jesus's brother etc.) saw themselves as movement
would not accept gentiles unless they converted to Judaism
(through circumcision, etc.).
- Paul emphasized
mission to the gentiles, without requiring conversion.
- Establishment of minimal observances for
Jewish Christianity eventually dies out, rejected by
Jews and gentile Christians--
Opposition to "Hellenizing" in Church:
- Rejection of
- Salvation cannot be achieved through the
- Physical morality and social ethics are
- Opposed to both extreme asceticism
(self-denial) and libertinism
to return to the Christianity Notes Index