God and Grace in Philo and Paul


In God and Grace in Philo and Paul, Orrey McFarland examines how Philo of Alexandria and the Apostle Paul understood divine grace. While scholars have occasionally observed that Philo and Paul both speak about God’s generosity, such work has often placed the two theologians in either strong continuity or stark discontinuity without probing into the theological logic that animates the particularities of their thought. By contrast, McFarland sets Philo and Paul in conversation and argues that both could speak of divine gifts emphatically and in formally similar ways while making materially different theological judgments in the context of their concrete historical settings and larger theological frameworks. That is, McFarland demonstrates how their theologies of grace are neither identical nor antithetical.

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Orrey McFarland, Ph.D. (2013), Durham University, is a candidate for ordination in the North American Lutheran Church and is Visiting Professor of New Testament and Historical Theology at Knox Theological Seminary. He has published articles and essays in the fields of New Testament, Second Temple Judaism, and Early Christianity.
"McF.s Arbeit überzeugt in vielfacher Hinsicht (...) McF.s Studie ist ein wertvoller Baustein zu einer differenzierten Paulusinterpretation jenseits von „klassischer“ und „neuer“ Perspektive." - Gerhard Hotze, Münster, in: Biblische Zeitschrift 62 (2018)
"Anyone who is interested in Philo’s account of the creation, the law, divine grace, and human worth (...) will find this book a resource of great import. (...) McFarland’s general conclusion that Philo’s and Paul’s understandings of God’s grace and gift are different, but not antithetical, is well substantiated." - Jee Hei Park, Fordham University, in: Biblical Interpretation 27 (2019)


1 The Perfect God Who Gives

2 Cosmological Ethics, Gifted Virtue, and Worth

3 The Christ-Event Within the Divine Gift-Economy

4 Proclaiming and Receiving the Incongruous Gift

5 The Gift and the Creation of Gift-Communities


Index of Modern Authors
Index of Ancient Sources
All interested in Pauline theology, Second Temple Judaism generally and Philo specifically, the relationship between early Christianity and Judaism, divine grace and gift theory, and comparative studies.
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