March 27, 2018


Schellenberg challenges assumptions about Paul’s writing

In recent articles for two academic journals, MTSO Assistant Professor of New Testament Ryan Schellenberg shares his research re-examining common assumptions about the writings of Paul.


Schellenberg’s article “Subsistence, Swapping, and Paul's Rhetoric of Generosity” appears in the Spring 2018 issue of the Journal of Biblical Literature. In the abstract, Schellenberg explains that his article “employs ethnographic accounts of the economic activities of the poor to challenge the assumption that Paul's injunctions to generosity were targeted primarily at wealthier members.”

Instead, he argues, Paul was addressing concerns related to the sharing of resources between and among the poor: “Paul envisions and seeks to nurture local networks of Christ followers who utilize their mostly subsistence-level resources for their mutual benefit.”

The Journal for the Study of the New Testament published Schellenberg’s article “Did Paul Refuse an Offer of Support from the Corinthians?” in its March 1, 2018, issue.

“It is generally agreed that one key factor in the deterioration of Paul’s relationship with the Corinthian assembly was his refusal to accept an offer of material support,” Schellenberg writes in the abstract. “In fact, however, there is no solid textual basis for this putative datum. ... When Paul boasts that he has not burdened the Corinthians, what he means is not that he has refused to accept their support, but that he has refrained from demanding it. Reconstructions of his relationship with the Corinthian assembly must be modified accordingly.”

Methodist Theological School in Ohio provides theological education and leadership in pursuit of a just and sustainable world. In addition to the Master of Divinity degree, the school offers master’s degrees in counseling, theological studies and practical theology, along with a Doctor of Ministry degree.

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Danny Russell, communications director, 740-362-3322