A scene from The Canterbury Psalter (12th century)

An Excellent Syn-Thesis

You could work out an entire theology of salvation just by collating the ways Paul puts the prepositional prefix syn- onto a variety of words, making a compact with- or co- construction to carry his doctrine. In fact, I was on the verge of sketching out such a soteriology (based especially on Ephesians), when I found that somebody had already done a great job of it back in 1952.

Brendan McGrath, O.S.B. wrote a seven-page survey article on all the syn-compounds in Paul, which he concluded by syn-thesizing into a syn-optic final paragraph. Check it out:

Brendan McGrath, “‘Syn’ Words in Saint Paul,” The Catholic Biblical Quarterly , July, 1952, Vol. 14, No. 3 (July, 1952), pp. 219-226; at 225-6. JSTOR link. The paragraph spans a page break, so I spliced them together here for better viewing.

This paragraph is not only a marvel of condensed thought because it summarizes the entire article, but because the article itself was a parergon, a derivative minor work that he spun off from his entire doctoral dissertation on solidarity in Paul’s theology. See the footnote on 225. McGrath’s background in classics is well used in the argument as well. That’s a lot of elaborate thinking to fund an excellent paragraph! An obituary for McGrath (1914-1988) can be found here.

About This Blog

Fred Sanders is a theologian who tried to specialize in the doctrine of the Trinity, but found that everything in Christian life and thought is connected to the triune God.

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