Audio Spotlight: Paul as Missionary – Dale Martin

Dale Martin, Yale, Introduction to New Testament History and Literature,  50:14

Dale B. Martin is a well respected scholar teaching at Yale, one of the top New Testament programs in the United States.  This particular lecture comes from his New Testament introduction course and is thus a lecture intended for an undergraduate audience.  However, this is a scholarly lecture that can benefit anyone interested in Paul’s background and 1 Thessalonians.  Dr. Martin’s speaking is lively and clear and the lecture is high quality (he even drops in a few jokes).   The entire series of lectures is available on You Tube in video format or on Itunes in either video or audio format.

This particular lecture is his first on Paul and thus contains a fair amount of introductory material on the study of Paul of Tarsus.  For the first 13:30 Martin focuses on the difficulties scholars face when examining Paul and a few of the influential interpretations of Paul by those such as Augustine and Luther.  Martin begins the meat of his lecture on Paul with a brief discussion of the biographical information found in Paul’s letters and the Acts of the Apostles.  Additionally, Martin discusses issues of authorship for the disputed and Pastoral letters.

Much of the letter is focused on 1 Thessalonians and includes an analysis of Paul’s missionary process and the main topics which he taught to communities.  Martin questions Acts’ claim that Paul began his missionary work in the synagogues of Thessalonica before moving to the gentiles.  Additionally, Martin focuses on topics which Paul preached to the Thessalonian community such as eschatology, issues pertaining to sexuality, and turning away from idol worship.

An interesting sidenote is Martin’s contention that this letter was addressed only to men.  He concludes that Paul’s use of adelphoi should be literally translated as men, though in other letters such as 1 Corinthians the term is often inclusive and refers to men and women.  While I am not sure I can agree with Martin on this point, he makes a strong case.

I would recommend this lecture to anyone interested in the study of Paul of Tarsus.  I will be recommending snippets to my students throughout the quarter to supplement our course materials.

This audio spotlight and all previous entries can be found through the resources page on the audio/video resources page.