The synoptic sermon tradition as a fiscal framework in 1 Corinthians : towards a Pauline theology of material possessions
The present study addresses two separate but related questions. Firstly, what is Paul’s theology of material possessions, and secondly, what is the source of the apostle’s thought on this subject. Our thesis endeavours to answer these questions by hypothesizing that Paul owes his pecuniary thought to the synoptic sermon tradition. However, unlike other studies that investigate Paul’s use of the Jesus tradition, our study does not appeal to verbal parallels to establish this theory. Rather, our thesis attempts to demonstrate continuity in the broad fiscal thought of Jesus and Paul. This is accomplished by first demonstrating the plausibility of Paul’s acquaintance with the dominical tradition through evidence related to the apostle’s historical environment and his extant writings. Then, we establish the likelihood that Paul knew the pre-synoptic sermon tradition because of its ubiquity in early church discipleship, the judgment of form critical scholars, and its pervasive resonances in Pauline literature. From this point of embarkation, we proceed to articulate the broad fiscal thought of ht e synoptic sermons. It is found that the synoptic sermons’ fiscal material has a pervasively eschatological orientation, and that in the sermons, Jesus seeks to redefine the financial worldview of Christian disciples. Having examined the synoptic sermons, we compare their fiscal thought with that expressed by Paul in 1 Corinthians. Through the course of this comparison, alternate sources in Jewish and Hellenistic literature are considered as potential explanations for any correspondences. Ultimately, our study concludes that Jesus’ and Paul’s financial thought evidences remarkable symmetry that cannot be explained by a shared cultural environment. Consequently, we determine that Paul depends on the dominical tradition for the contours of his financial thought.