Paul's scriptural interpretation is fundamentally important for the development of Christian readings of (what would come to be called) the "Old Testament." The question is how important scripture really is for his own theology; a long tradition of Pauline interpreters have regarded its importance as fairly minimal. This essay presents a critique of the "minimalist" case, which argues, first, that scriptural citation is for Paul merely a rhetorical strategy intended to reinforce his own apostolic authority; second, that he cites proof texts with little regard for their original contexts; and third, that his scriptural interpretation is predetermined by his own prior theological convictions. In opposition to these claims, it is argued here that the rhetorical dimension of citation is compatible with issues of theological substance; that individual citations can serve to represent larger blocks of scriptural material; and that Paul's theological convictions are themselves codetermined by his scriptural interpretation. Even as an apostle, Paul learns things from scripture that he would not know without it.

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