I returned home from work last night to find a package from Mohr Siebeck containing a copy of Peter Orr’s Christ Absent and Present: A Study in Pauline Christology. This is another in a long line of doctoral dissertations that has been revised for publication and included in what is without a doubt my favorite NT monograph series: WUNT II.
The book’s description is worth quoting in full from the Mohr website:
In his letters, the Apostle Paul can express both the confidence that Christ dwells in the believer (Rom. 8:10) and the longing for Christ to return so that believers can finally be united with him (1 Thess. 4:17). Peter Orr develops the case that this under-explored relationship between the presence and absence of Christ sheds important light on Paul’s Christology. In the first part of this book he examines how two of the 20th century’s leading Pauline scholars (Albert Schweitzer and Ernst Käsemann) express almost precisely opposite views regarding the nature of this relationship. Using their polarity as an entry-point, he then turns to examine Paul’s letters. Firstly, he considers Paul’s expression of the absence of Christ, particularly in relationship to the body of Christ. Finally, Orr looks at different modes of Christ’s presence across Paul’s letters and how these relate to his absence.
I was immediately hopeful that this would serve as a nice complement to Chris Tilling’s Paul’s Divine Christology, and it seems from a survey of the modern author index that Orr does interact with Tilling’s book! This is very good news! I’m excited to see in what ways Orr has been able to build on this idea, which was a vitally important part of a larger argument offered by Tilling.