From page XIV of the introduction of Heikki Raisanen’s book Paul and the Law:

The problem of understanding

I agree, of course, that one should not too hastily jump to the conclusion that Paul is inconsistent. The question is simply: when is such a conclusion no longer too hasty? More to the point, why should Paul be granted special treatment, different from that given to everybody else? Ought we to have more patience with apparent inconsistencies in his writings then with those possibly found in, say, Philo, Augustine, or Marx? When at one time I was studying the idea of divine hardening in the Bible and in the Koran, it struck me what different standards people could use in assessing their own tradition and an alien one. It sometimes seemed that what is called a contradiction in an alien tradition is called a paradox in one’s own tradition. As I pointed out (below, p. 15) I am most of all concerned with fair comparison.

(I tried to not reproduced his italicization above.)  This is but a sampling of a book that I feel everyone who thinks Paul is inspired, or worse, perfectly logical, needs to read. The author was a big ole Lutheran who upon studying Paul seriously found to his chagrin that Paul is not the genius our traditions have made him out to be, but that Paul was very inconsistent in his explanations of the Law and how or why Christians must no longer follow the Law. (I’m not arguing Christians must follow the Law, by the way, and neither is this author.) This book will convince you that Paul is inconsistent and incoherent if you have a functioning brain. And yet, that wasn’t really the author’s intent.  This is not written as a case for Paul being incoherent. He’s merely trying to exegete Paul’s view (singular) on the Law, but finds it to be an impossible task because Paul has many contradictory theories (plural) about the Law! What makes this book so great, and rather unique, is that rather than trying to hide that Paul contradicts himself on the subject of the Law, the author actually admits it!

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