Glad to see that Kevin Emmert at CT lists my Anomalous Jew: Paul among Jews, Greeks, and Romans as one of the must read theology books of 2016!
An Anomalous Jew: Paul among Jews, Greeks, And Romans, by Michael Bird (Eerdmans, October).
Paul was a complex figure who held a strange mixture of beliefs that brought him into conflict with the socio-religious world around him. His beliefs about Jesus brought him into conflict with non-Christian Jews. Even Jewish Christians regarded him as an adversary for not requiring Gentile converts to be circumcised. Further, Paul drew heavily from Greek culture and thought, yet he opposed the idolatry and philosophy of the Greek world. And while Paul was a Roman citizen and believed government was a God-ordained institution, he believed that the kingdom of God was superior to the Roman Empire. Paul was indeed an anomalous figure to both Christians and non-Christians—even to us today. Understanding who he was helps us to better understand what he taught.