'Apostle to the gentiles' : the origins of Pauline pneumatology
The research sets out to inquire into Paul's initial thoughts on the Holy Spirit. Paul’s convictions, that he was called to be an apostle to the Gentiles and that God has given the Spirit upon the Gentiles apart from Torah obedience, are foundational for any enquiry on the subject. The key questions are: Did Paul expect a bestowal of the Spirit upon the Gentiles apart from Torah obedience when he went into Gentile mission? And, how can we account for Paul's conviction that God has poured out the Spirit upon the Gentiles? Central to our argument is Paul's conviction that God has graciously endowed the gift of the Spirit upon his Gentile converts, an understanding that is rooted primarily in his own conversion/call experience and secondarily in his experience with and as a missionary of the Hellenistic community in Antioch. By investigating the range of expectations of the Spirit that were present in Hebrew scripture and in the wider Jewish literature, the study found that such a concept is rare, and that it is usually the covenant community to which the promise of the Spirit is given. Further, Paul's own pre-Christian convictions about the Spirit, which particularly evolved from his own self-perception as a Pharisee and persecutor of the church, display a continuity between his own thought patterns and those of Second Temple Judaism. Paul’s Damascus experience was an experience of the Spirit. His experience of the 'glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ' (2 Cor.3.1-4.6) provided him with the belief that there is now a new relationship with God, which is possible through the sphere of the Spirit. In addition, Paul was influenced by the Hellenists, whose theological beliefs included a perception of the church as the eschatological Temple where the Spirit of God is the manifest presence of God. It is in these notions that one may trace the origins of Paul's thoughts on the Holy Spirit.