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10 Paul and Universalism

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses one aspect of Paul's thought. Paul's writings are clearly not apocalypses: they are letters and generically very different from texts such as Daniel, Revelation. Yet it may well be that Paul shares a number of common features with texts which have been labelled as apocalypses, and hence his language and ideas may be regarded as apocalyptic in some sense. Certainly he discusses eschatological issues, and in some respects his eschatology could be deemed to be similar to that of apocalypses, and hence be appropriately described as apocalyptic eschatology. The chapter addresses how far is Paul Universalist in his thinking and whether Paul thinks that all human beings will ultimately be saved or only part of the human race will be saved, the rest being consigned to either eternal punishment or perhaps total annihilation. In one way, Paul is held up as the apostle above all of universalism.

Keywords: apocalypses; eschatological issues; eternal punishment; human race; Paul's thought; universalism



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