Paula Fredriksen’s Verdict on N.T. Wright’s PFG

Paula Fredriksen’s Verdict on N.T. Wright’s PFG June 27, 2014

Through a friend I came across Paula Fredriksen’s review of N.T. Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God, which includes this rather damning indictment of his work:

[Wright’s] interpretive context is generated not by a critical sifting of primary evidence but by the requirements of his master narrative’s plot: how Paul invented a triumphalist, eschatologically realized Christian theology. In this regard, Paul and the Faithfulness of God represents a return to the good old days, pre-1977 (Sanders’ Paul and Palestinian Judaism), pre-1963 (Stendahl’s “Paul and the Introspective Conscience of the West”), indeed, pre-1906 (Schweitzer’s Quest of the Historical Jesus, with its robust reconstruction of Jewish apocalyptic hopes). Wright’s book is historically important, therefore, for the light that it sheds not on Paul, but on the last century of Pauline studies. We have not, after all, undergone a paradigm shift. We stand transfixed between two paradigms: Paul the Christian theologian and Paul the apocalyptic visionary. Our next step forward still remains to be taken.

Ouch! I’ll take that as a negative response.

FYI, I’m not sure where the review is published.

Browse Our Archives