Studies in Paul's understanding of his mission
Bowers, William Paul
University of Cambridge
Faculty of Divinity
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Bowers, W. P. (1977). Studies in Paul's understanding of his mission (doctoral thesis). https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.21704
Traditionally the study of Paul's mission has been formed by, and has itself informed, the questions which structure the investigation of Paul's life and work, as distinguishod from those which dominate research into his theology. Yet given Paul's evident inner preoccupation with mission, it must be doubted whether an adequate understanding either of Paul's theology or of his mission is possible without deliberate and systematic attention to Paul's thinking on mission within the investigation of his theology. If this needed attention is to set forward on firm footing, it would best secure from the start a much more thorough-going clarification than is at present available of just what for Paul himself was mission. Prior to the question: what was Paul's theology of mission? must be the question: what to Paul's mind was mission? Given the highly personal character of Paul's thinking in this area, the most promising approach to such a question is to begin with Paul's understanding of his own mission. Not being in a position to offer here a comprehensive study either of Paul's theology of mission, or even of his understanding of his own mission, I have nevertheless sought to offer exploratory and suggestive work on this particular question. Taking as my point of departure Paul's heightened sense of vocation, and the discussions regarding it which have arisen in recent years in Pau1ine studies, I have attempted to clarify three aspects of Paul's understanding of his own mission. While there are undoubtedly other leading aspects, on the basis of these studies it may at least be said that for Paul his mission was a consciously geographical achievement, ecclesiologically effected, within an eschatological frame of reference. If, in addition to these direct if limited results, the approach represented in these studies should itself prove stimulating and directive for research attempting a more comprehensive and definitive treatment, I shall not be disappointed.
This record's DOI: https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.21704