Renwick, David Alistair. “Paul, the Temple, and the Presence of God.” PhD diss., Union Theological Seminary in Virginia, 1988. [Israel/Christian/Theology/
Abstract: The thesis proposed and defended in this dissertation is: THAT WHEREAS in the Judaism surrounding the first Christian century there was a pervasive concern to establish, enter, and maintain the presence of God, which counted as the very essence of salvation, AND WHEREAS such a concern belonged to, among others, the pre-70 Pharisees, of whom one was the Apostle Paul, AND WHEREAS such a concern was intimately related to concepts such as Jerusalem, the Temple, the Priesthood, and other matters related to the Cult, THEREFORE it can be assumed that such a fundamental concern, couched in similar terms, was of fundamental (and not merely secondary or illustrative) importance to the Apostle Paul, who even as a Christian continued to think in ways characteristic of Judaism and the Old Testament, AND THAT when such a hypothesis is made, Paul’s thought is greatly clarified.
In Part One, Inter-testamental Judaism is examined, through a selection of its literature (Ben Sira, Jubilees, I Enoch, Psalms of Solomon, and IV Ezra) and its sectarian life (Samaritans, Sadducees, Qumran and Pharisees). While the attempt is made to display the rich variety of thought in Ancient Judaism, it is demonstrated, nevertheless, that the quest for the Presence of God, portrayed frequently through the imagery of the cult, was a quest of enormous, and even central, significance in almost every aspect of Ancient Judaism examined.
Since the religious roots of the Apostle Paul were in Pharisaism, one branch of Ancient Judaism, the possibility is raised that even as a Christian Paul would have shared the crucial concern to establish the exact location of the Presence of God. In Part Two, this hypothesis is tested on a key Pauline passage, II Corinthians 2:14-3:18. Exegesis demonstrates the viability and value of the hypothesis, which clearly leads to a significant clarification of the development and logic of Paul’s thought. The conclusion is therefore drawn that the hypothesis is valid, and should lead to further clarification of Paul’s thought elsewhere as well.
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