Since the 1970s and E. P. Sanders’ Paul and Palestinian Judaism, Pauline scholars have become increasingly aware of the significance of participation (formerly, Pauline mysticism) in Paul’s letters. In them, he employed a diversity of participatory expressions, e.g., speaking of believers being “in Christ,” baptized “into Christ,” being crucified “with” Christ, etc. While Paul makes frequent references to participation, he never explained what it was, thus leaving modern interpreters with an enigma and an impasse. This book seeks to redress this neglected question of Pauline participation through an examination of the Greek-speaking eastern Fathers, a suggestion of scholar Richard Hays.To this end, this book explores four select patristic texts from Irenaeus, Origen, Athanasius, and Cyril of Alexandria, paying close attention to how each may shed potential new light on the enigma Pauline participation.
Mark J. Goodwin is associate professor of theology and scripture at the University of Dallas.
Part I. Reading Pauline Participation through a Patristic Lens: Methodological Considerations
Chapter 1: The Methodological Challenge of Anachronism
Chapter 2: Reading Paul Through a Patristic Lens: Recent Examples
Part II. Pauline Participation in Its First Century Setting
Chapter 3: Paul’s Language of Κοινωνία
Chapter 4: Participation “in Christ,” Galatians 4:19, and Christ Formed “in” Believers
Chapter 5: Participation, the Spirit, and 1 Cor 3:16-17
Chapter 6: The Spirit and Participation in Romans 5:5 and 8:15
Chapter 7: A Synthesis of Findings on Pauline Participation
Part III. Participation in Patristic Writings: Forays into Patristic Participation: Select Passages From Irenaeus, Origen, Athanasius, and Cyril of Alexandria
Chapter 8: Patristic Participation and Its Function in Divinization
Chapter 9: Irenaeus and Participation in Against the Heretics, 3.18.7
Chapter 10: Origen and Participation in Commentary on Romans 5:5
Chapter 11: Athanasius and Participation in the Letter to Serapion 1.24
Chapter 12: Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on Isaiah 4.2.
Chapter 13: A Summary of Findings on Patristic Participation
Chapter 14: Patristic Writers in Dialogue with Paul
About the Author
The theme of “participation” in Paul’s letters has captivated a host of scholars in recent years. With this book, the name of Mark Goodwin must be added to the list of those who have made major contributions to clarifying this mysterious concept. With methodological precision and clarity, Goodwin advances our understanding of Paul’s teaching through the lens of four Eastern Fathers of the Church whose thought helps to illuminate what Paul may well have had in mind. A worthy accomplishment and essential reading for Pauline scholars!
Mark Goodwin has added an important contribution to the growing interest in the importance of participation in Christ in Pauline theology. While current literature treats this Pauline theme in isolation from the patristic emphasis on theosis, Goodwin brings Paul and the church fathers into dialogue with each other, maintaining that the first readers of Paul clarified statements in the letters that were either oblique or ambiguous. He examines the reception history of the major Pauline texts in the patristic literature, demonstrating that the church fathers drew out the meaning potential of these passages for their own context. With his excellent command of Pauline and patristic literature, Goodwin has both brought clarity to Pauline texts and demonstrated the subsequent impact of a central feature of Pauline theology.
With Paul and Participation, Mark Goodwin delves into a central debate in Pauline studies regarding participation in the triune God. Good journeys take orientation to help you recognize the important sights you’ll encounter, and Goodwin’s study is a travel guide that provides that needed orientation. He situates the key issues under debate with regard to participation, examines central Pauline passages, and illustrates patristic theologizing through vignettes from central Greek patristic interpreters—Irenaeus, Origen, Athanasius, and Cyril of Alexandria. So, whether you are interested in Paul or his key Greek patristic interpreters, you will be enlightened by this accessible volume.