Terrell’s PAUL’S PARALLELS (Review: Part I)

Paul’s Parallels: An Echoes Synopsis (Continuum, 2009), by P.E. Terrell, is a massive reference resource of nearly 1000 pages.  What is it?  It is a series of tables that place every Pauline pericope alongside “like-minded” texts that either influenced Paul’s thoughts or simply stand within the same thought-world (esp. Jewish texts) and show thematic resonances.

I will try to do a few  posts on this resource, but I can offer some quick thoughts.  Firstly, this is not the first resource of this kind, but it is certainly the most thorough attempt.  When a Pauline text is placed within an OT context, sometimes Terrell lists out several chapters of, e.g., Leviticus or Exodus.  This is useful as you are given a large amount of OT context and also it keeps you from having to look it up in another Bible.

Secondly, each pericope is titled to give you a sense for the nature of the “parallel” – as in “bear burdens of others” (1 Cor 9.21; Matthew 5.3-6; Gal. 6.2; Isaiah 53.4; Jer. 31.32).

Thirdly, and perhaps most surprising of all, the whole text of Acts kicks off the book and echoed parallels are given esp. with a view towards the life and ministry of Paul.  This information is certainly novel and not previously worked through by other similar reference books.

More to come, but I can see this will be a very handy tool for researchers.  My first thoughts are that I could probably find some of these parallels within the Pauline corpus using Bibleworks and word/phrase searches.  Where Terrell’s work shines is, for example, parallels to the Gospels where there is an overlap of ideas, but not of terms (things you can’t account for in Bibleworks).

Wait for part II….