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Paul and Scripture Seminar
SBL 2006 Annual Meeting

SESSION 1: Paul, Scripture, and Tradition

Paul and His Bible: His Education and Access to the Scriptures of Israel
Stanley E. Porter, McMaster Divinity College

This paper will explore issues related to the use of Scripture by Paul, including such matters as the text that he used, and the ways in which he used it both in his letters and in terms of personal use. Comparison will be made to other ancient practices for collection, transmission and utilization of ancient texts, especially those considered to be of special or sacred value.

How Does Paul Read Scripture?
Stephen Moyise , University of Chichester

This paper will investigate whether Paul's use of scripture is satisfactorily explained by positing a controlling scriptural narrative. It will consider the evidence for particular proposals, such as covenant, law and promise and new exile, both by examining selected portions of Paul's letters and the writings of other scripturally-minded exegetes. Finally, it will consider the relationship between such proposals and the narrative of the Christ-event and evaluate whether this is best described as continuity, discontinuity, or some form of mutual influence.

SESSION 2: Why the Audience Matters

Synagogue Influence on Paul's Roman Readers
Bruce N. Fisk, Westmont College

Paul's use of Scripture in Romans seems to presuppose substantial biblical knowledge on the part of his audience. Were Paul's (largely) Gentile Christian readers in Rome familiar with the Jewish Scriptures because of their prior (and possibly ongoing) participation in the synagogue(s) of the city? This paper will weigh the evidence for the "synagogue influence" hypothesis in terms of the content of Romans, synagogue practice in the diaspora and Jewish-Christian relations in 1st century Rome.

The Role of the Audience in the Interpretation of Paul's References to the Jewish Scriptures
Christopher D. Stanley, St. Bonaventure University

Scholars who study the use of Scripture in Paul's letters routinely assume that Paul wrote for audiences with a high degree of biblical literacy. Most seem to think that Paul expected his audiences to recall the precise literary context of his biblical references, reconstruct the reasoning behind his his often opaque readings of Scripture, and approve the validity of his hermeneutic. This paper will identify a number of problems with this way of viewing of Paul's audiences and argue for an alternative model that is more consistent with the social realities of Paul's day.

Scripture Reading and Identity Formation
Diana M. Swancutt, Yale University

This paper examines instances of Paul's use of Scripture as moments in an ongoing process of identity formation of Greek believers into Pauline Jewish messianic communities. Particular attention is paid to the ways the identity of Paul's rhetorical audiences determine the questions we ask, and answers we give, to the subject of "Paul's use of Scripture"; the meanings of "scripture" in Paul's rhetoric; and to the methodological issues raised by reading the letters both for evidence of social group-formation, and as moments of rhetorical self-definition.