Thursday, May 14, 2009

Michael Pahl, Discerning the "Word of the Lord"

I was delighted to receive in the post a copy of Michael Pahl, Discerning the "Word of the Lord": "The Word of the Lord" in 1 Thessalonians 4:15. Michael was a PhD student at the University of Birmingham, and I was privileged to be his supervisor (later also with David Parker, when I left Birmingham for Duke). I thought his PhD an excellent piece of work, and it is a great thrill now to see a revised version in print. Many bloggers will also know Michael from his Stuff of Earth, which is currently on hiatus but we hope will return one day. Here are the full details of the new book:

Discerning the "Word of the Lord"
"The Word of the Lord" in 1 Thessalonians 4:15

Michael W. Pahl

Pub Date: 07 Jul 2009
ISBN: 0567455653
ISBN13: 9780567455659
224 Pages

Series: The Library of New Testament Studies

Subject Biblical Studies, New Testament and 1 & 2 Thessalonians

Imprint T & T Clark International


Investigates the well-known exegetical problem of identifying the referent of the phrase “Word of the Lord” in 1 Thessalonians 4:15.


In 1 Thessalonians 4:15, the Apostle Paul appeals to a “word of the Lord” to provide authority for his eschatological encouragement. This appeal has left a perplexing problem related to the nature and function of the specific authority to which the phrase refers. Two theories have predominated in the history of interpretation: either 1) it refers to a directly received prophetic revelation, whether to Paul or to another Christian prophet; or 2) it refers to a teaching of Jesus received as tradition, whether preserved in the Gospel tradition or otherwise unknown. This book investigates this problem from three angles: epistemological analysis, examining Paul’s authorities for his knowledge, particularly in his eschatology; linguistic analysis, including both grammatical and lexical study of the phrase; and contextual analysis, setting the statement within its historical and literary contexts. These approaches converge to suggest a fresh solution to the problem: while Paul does appear to employ traditional Christian eschatological teaching in his response to the Thessalonian crisis (4:16-17a), the phrase ἐν λόγῳ κυρίου does not refer to this tradition, but rather refers to the proclaimed gospel message about Jesus centred on his death and resurrection which forms the theological foundation of Paul’s response (cf. 4:14).
Michael W. Pahl took his Ph.D. in Theology from the University of Birmingham, U.K., and has taught New Testament studies in Canada and the U.K.

1 comment:

Michael Pahl said...

Thanks for the mention!