Reading Acts

Starting this week I am teaching an undergrad class on the “Jewish Christian Literature.” Essentially, this is a class that covers Hebrews through Revelation. Sometimes this section of the New Testament is called the “catholic epistles” or the “general epistles” since they are perceived as being universal in appeal. Certainly James, 1 Peter and 1 John written as circular letters, but 2 and 3 John and Jude seem to be directed at specific congregations. While Hebrews is less a letter than a sermon, Revelation mentions seven churches with specific situations that are likely to be “real” issues faced by those local congregations.

But as I point out the first day of class, we could probably call these letters the “other letters” or the “Not Paul” collection. This is what is difficult about reading books like Hebrews and James. Christian Theology is almost always focused on Paul (and for good reasons)…

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