Friday, May 25, 2012

What Birthed My Dissertation Topic?

It is instructive to review one's own work from time to time. I had occasion to open my dissertation, which I'm grateful I never published, and thought about what had given prompted ideas that finally gave birth to my disseration now twenty years old. For anyone interested, here's the first paragraph of the preface.

"The idea that finally gave birth to this dissertation had a lengthy gestation period, for it was conceived about ten years ago in reflective exegesis of Gal 3:22-25. The implications of Paul's antithesis between ἡ πίστις and ὁ νόμος challenged my theological construct of the law and the gospel, particularly how I read Galatians 3. The evident historical contrast betweon πρὸ τοῦ Χριστοῦ (3:23) and ἐλθούσης τῆς πίστεως (3:25) and the fact that πίστις 'Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ (3:22) is the referent of these phrases prompted reflection upon the possibility that the latter expression refers to Christ's πίστις and not to "faith in Christ." Noticing that the same phrase occurs twice in Gal 216, formulated an hypothesis that Paul's antithesis between πίστις and ἔργα νόμου (νόμος) in Gal 3:1-14 reflects an historical contrast between Christ and Torah. This hypothesis, then, is examined tlroughout the following pages" (The Curse of the Law and the Cross: Works of Law and Faith in Galatians 3:1-14, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, 1992, p. x).

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