Paul the Immigrant

The apostle Paul was an immigrant, at least if we go with the earliest Christian traditions. His family moved from their nativeland, Galilee, to Tarsus, a major city in Asia Minor. He was a Jew surrounded by Gentiles, and hence lived a life in the diaspora of that time. We are looking at E.P. Sanders’ [Read More...]

The New Perspective is Now Complete

In 1977 E.P. Sanders wrote Paul and Palestinian Judaism and unleashed what, in the expression originally of N.T. Wright and then more forcefully J.D.G. Dunn, is called “the new perspective.” Sanders, however, put far more pressure on how we understand Judaism than how we understand either Jesus (he did write Jesus and Judaism) or Paul (only a [Read More...]

Paul in His Real World

The apostle Paul has been mined mostly for his theology — from Augustine to Luther and Calvin to Bultmann and Barth on into the modern works of folks like Jimmy Dunn and NT Wright. Mostly it is his theology they are after. Others have turned it more neutrally toward religion — and here we think [Read More...]

N.T. Wright Responds to the Apocalyptic Paul School

The major debate about the apostle Paul shifted in the 21st Century from a debate between the “old” and the “new” perspective of Paul to the new perspective vs. the apocalyptic Paul. In saying that, the tussle ends up being between NT Wright (a version of the NPP) and Lou Martyn and his followers (e.g., [Read More...]

Is the “Old” Better? NT Wright Responds

It may simplify but this formula may explain a major difference between at least the most widely-read version of the “new” perspective and the standard “old” perspective: Old Perspective scholars are soteriologians while the NT Wright version of the New Perspective makes him an eschatologian. I am re-reading NT Wright’s Paul and His Recent Interpreters and the chapter [Read More...]

E.P. Sanders on E.P. Sanders

Last Friday I posted a summary by N.T. Wright of E.P. Sanders’ view of Judaism and Paul but I thought it would be good today to post Sanders’ own summary of what he accomplished (or said) in his famous Paul and Palestinian Judaism, a book every intelligent reader of Paul must read for herself or himself. [Read More...]

The New Perspective(s) on Paul Begin with EP Sanders

In the mid to late 90s I began to hear traditional, mostly the Reformed with hints of Lutheranism Christian leaders begin to accuse the “new perspective” of weaknesses and in the criticism I was hearing descriptions of what “new perspective on Pau” (NPP) theologians believed — as if the NPP had a systematic theology worked [Read More...]

NT Wright, Paul and His Interpreters, the Cover

The cover of N.T. Wright’s new Paul and His Recent Interpreters, in the English edition (sadly not the USA edition), goes to the heart of the book. Some might not notice that the cover of the book is Rembrandt’s self portrait as the apostle Paul. (Image credit) Rembrandt painting himself as the apostle Paul, think of [Read More...]

N.T. Wright’s Paul — the Short Version

I don’t care how good it is, for many (if not most) pastors I know, N.T. Wright’s mammoth Paul and the Faithfulness of God is still too long. The same is true for many of my professor friends who don’t teach Paul. With the final volume in the set coming out this fall, Paul and His Recent [Read More...]

Performing a Pauline Letter

In a previous post I observed that Paul’s letters were not read by individuals but performed by a reader (or lector). The lector didn’t read a letter of Paul cold on the spot but instead would have been given instructions (by Paul and his co-workers). In fact, it would not have been unusual for the [Read More...]