This textbook reveals Paul's thought against the background of his life. The first main section deals with his life and his epistles, and the second main section then presents a thematically structured account of the main themes of Paul's thinking, so that equal weight is given both to its historical genesis and to its structurality. Recent research in the sociology of knowledge and historical theory sees Paul's theology as a symbolism distinguished by a high level of connectivity. Despite numerous philosophical problems and adverse historical conditions, Paul succeeds in placing his thinking, which is characterised by a messianic universalism, within the existing sense-worlds of Hellenistic culture. This shows how strongly St. Paul's thought was grounded in this culture, and how he was in a position to create a new cognitive and emotional identity in his congregations. Dr. Udo Schnelle is Professor of New Testament Studies at the Martin-Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg and the author of numerous specialist works and textbooks. For de Gruyter Publishers he is the editor of the Neuer Wettstein.
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