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AM, 2016 11:May

A Polite Bribe: Paul, In His Own Words

To navigate the waters of Pauline New Testament studies has been both an adventure and cautionary tale. There is an abundance of material beginning with unknown NT sources, traditions, methodologies, points of departure, and terms that have come to define them: Catholic, Lutheran, Evangelical, New Paul Perspective, Paul and Empire, Post Colonial Studies, etc.

Once I had reached critical mass in Pauline Scholarship, I thought it best to explore the subject from my own expertise, Narrative Analysis. Using the fragments of Pauline letters, not to build a theology – something I frankly felt would be impossible with such a protean character – but to reconstruct an alternative story to the Acts of The Apostles.

Moreover, to stay consistent with this enterprise and express the message in the spirit and tone more reflective of the Lukan writings themselves, along with oral traditions of the time, I decided to write this in a narrator style or in a spoken language; the same that would be heard in the documentary itself, dulling the corners of argument for the fluidity of story sequence.

In light of the many limitations of historical mapping, this narrative approach would trust the propitious effects of what story does best when simply read and heard. It speaks unfiltered through narrative context, relying on human empathy, offering the opportunity for pure reaction, in this case with Paul’s voice as storyteller, not Luke.

Finally, I chartered this course in order that an audience could first experience a new perspective and the world of colors, emotions, and ideas it embodies, before rushing to defensive analysis. Though I have provided notes and the historical trajectories of further scholarship to support the conclusions point by point.

In the end, my arrival at this narrative, was solely a discovery born of the text themselves, but the changing paradigms of my own thought and on how the material was best understood in its cause and effect arrangement, thematic framing, and believablity of characters motivating the story itself. -Writer Director Robert Orlando

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Make a donation Dr. Witherington unexpectantly lost his daughter, Christy at the age of 32 this year. The Christy Ann Witherington Scholarship at Asbury Theological Seminary will support female students who are taking the M.A. in Biblical or Theological Studies, or the M. Div. or PhD in Biblical Studies. Please consider making a tax-deduxtible donation in support of this cause.

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