Paulus, Augustinus och Krister

Om det västerländska introspektiva samvetet


  • Paula Fredriksen


Krister Stendahl's famous 1963 article inspired Fredriksen's own academic journey. Stendahl had emphasized the historical Paul's robust conscience (Phil. 3:6), his apostolic turning as a call rather than a "conversion," and his eschatological conviction that God's kingdom would arrive in the apostle's own lifetime as the impetus for his mission. So how did the energetic Paul of history become the tormented Paul of Luther, simul iustus et peccator? Stendahl had named Augustine, and his Confessions, "the first great document in the history of the introspective conscience" as the source of Luther's Paul. Fredriksen challenges this idea, reading Confessions not as "autobiography" but as a theology creatively repurposing "the calm inner gazing of late Roman Neoplatonism." Augustine does not sow the seed of Luther's tormented apostle, she argues, until he rages, in his old age, against Pelagius. Fredriksen ends by returning, with Stendahl, to the issue of Paul's energetic eschatology, and to Stendahl's brave acknowledgement that God's kingdom, by Paul's count, is 2 000 years late. "No kerygmatic gamesmanship," he insisted, "can overcome that simple fact." Good theology, Stendahl urged, depends on honest history; and to commit to that endeavor "is to be a true son or daughter of the Reformation."