Paul and the Gentiles

Terence L. Donaldson

In the first major analysis of Paul's understanding of Gentile salvation in several years, Bible scholar Terence Donaldson offers a creative approach to the apostle's theological convictions. According to Donaldson, Paul as a believer in Jesus Christ did not abandon his Jewish frame of reference but reconfigured it, especially by the stimulus of his mission to the Gentiles. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc. Building on the work of scholars of a previous era such as Wrede, Schweitzer, and Baur, and in constant dialogue with more recent Pauline scholars, Donaldson sets out to discover the basic convictions underlying Paul's mission to the Gentiles. Using the structuralist approach of Daniel Patte, plus Thomas Kuhn's model of paradigm shift, he argues that Paul's basic convictions did not change after his experience at Damascus. In his view, Paul's conversion "represented a reconfiguration rather than a repudiation of his essential Jewishness." Basing his arguments primarily on Romans and Galatians, he asserts that the faith-versus-works antithesis was merely the argumentative logic by which Paul defended his law-free mission to the Gentiles. Donaldson's use of structuralism enables him to differentiate such logic from fundamental convictions. Those convictions included the belief that the salvation of the Gentiles had always been provided for in God's plan. After Damascus, Christ simply displaced Torah in the structure of Paul's convictions. Donaldson's arguments are at points tedious and somewhat repetitive, but the patient reader will be rewarded with significant new possibilities for understanding perhaps the most enigmatic figure in Christian history