Nijay Gupta Reviews The Apostle Paul: Four Views

My JSPL co-editor, Nijay Gupta, reviews The Apostle Paul: Four Views, noting the perceived strengths and weaknesses of the volume. Nijay has a colorful turn of phrase, naturally I like this statement by him:

 Strengths – this is a fun book. I practically read the whole book in one sitting because, thanks to the type of series, the reader gets excited about digging into both main chapters and responses. Mike Bird does a fantastic job taking stock, when the dust has settled, of who said what and how each contributor gave a unique perspective in his conclusion. It is like going to a conference without taking the airfare and hotel hit! I recommend seminary and PhD students interested in Pauline theology pick up this book. It is well worth the time!

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  • What are the 4 views?

  • Frederik Mulder

    And you probably do not like this statement by him 🙂
    Weaknesses – OK, having said that it is well worth reading, it did not quite meet my expectations. It is a great idea for a book, but somewhere in the planning it became idiosyncratic. The Counterpoints series, as I understand it, begins with “main views” and then tries to find experts that can represent that view. Here we have 4 excellent Pauline interpreters, but (aside from Schreiner and possibly Nanos) their views are rather personalized. That makes me wonder, who is this book for? It is not really something I would use for an introduction to Pauline theology. It belongs more with a senior seminar or ThM course on “modern interpretations of Paul.”Secondly, I think the range for each contributor was too broad – Paul’s view of salvation, Christology, ecclesiology, and epistemology. Wow! Just one of those areas would be stretching the task, but all four? As you could imagine, each contributor ended up focusing on something more specific -thus, it was hard, at the end of it all, to compare views.
    Finally, some of the contributors did not really follow the book plan, which also made the book a bit uneven (a point picked up by some respondents).