Forthcoming Books in 2015 You Should Know About!

Forthcoming Books in 2015 You Should Know About! June 16, 2015

E.P. Sanders, Paul: The Apostles’ Life, Letters, and Thought.

Decades after setting the study of Paul on a profoundly new footing with Paul and Palestinian Judaism(Fortress Press, 1977), E. P. Sanders now offers an expansive introduction to the apostle, navigating some of the thorniest issues in scholarship in language accessible to the novice and seasoned scholar alike. Always careful to distinguish what we can know historically from what we may only conjecture, and these from dogmatically driven misrepresentations, Sanders sketches a fresh picture of the apostle as an ardent defender of his own convictions, ever ready to craft the sorts of arguments that now fill his letters but—as Sanders carefully argues—were not the basis for his own beliefs and attitudes. He also gives sustained attention to a historical sketch of Paul’s context, particularly Second Temple Judaism, in order to set comparisons of Paul and that context on solid ground. Here are familiar themes from Sanders’s earlier work—the importance of works in Paul’s thought, the relationship of “plight” and “solution”—in a presentation that reveals a career’s reflection, along with new thinking regarding development in Paul’s thought. All of the letters are carefully introduced in a text that will prove a worthy guide to the student and interested reader.

James Dunn, Neither Jew nor Greek: A Contested Identity

This book brings James Dunn’s magisterial Christianity in the Making trilogy to a close. Neither Jew nor Greek covers the period following the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 c.e. and running through the second century, when the still-new Jesus movement firmed up its distinctive identity markers and the structures on which it would establish its growing appeal in the following decades and centuries. Dunn examines in depth the major factors that shaped first-generation Christianity and beyond, exploring the parting of the ways between Christianity and Judaism, the Hellenization of Christianity, and responses to Gnosticism. He mines all the first- and second-century sources, including the New Testament Gospels and such apostolic fathers as Ignatius, Justin Martyr, and Irenaeus. Comprehensively covering an important, complex era in early Christianity that is often overlooked,Neither Jew nor Greek is a landmark contribution to the field.

N.T. Wright, The Paul Debate

In the last two decades N. T. Wright has produced a succession of connected volumes that explore the nature and origins of Christianity. Wright has consistently argued that Christianity, while indebted to Second Temple Judaism, represents a significant development. With major books on method and background, Jesus, and the resurrection already in print, in Paul and the Faithfulness of God, Wright added a comprehensive study of the Apostle to the Gentiles.

Wright’s Paul, as well as his reading of Christianity, is not without its detractors. In The Paul Debate, Wright answers his critics. The five chapters represent a response to the five most questioned elements of his understanding of Paul. The first chapter takes up the question of Paul’s theological coherence, particularly the way in which his Jewish context, and the story about Israel he inherited, interacted with what he came to believe about Jesus, a Christological story. Chapter two follows on by tackling the debate over the background, origin, and implications of Paul’s Christology.The third chapter addresses the questions of covenant and cosmos, narrative and apocalyptic. Chapter four focuses on the debate over Paul’s view of who constitutes the people of God; this chapter also addresses the question of whether justification belongs to Paul’s soteriology or his ecclesiology, or somehow to both.The final chapter then traces debates about method, both Paul’s and ours, as well as questions of discovery and presentation, again, both Paul’s and ours. The Paul Debate is essential reading for those who both agree and disagree with Wright, and for all who want to understand the compelling voice of one of the most read and productive Pauline scholars in the past decades.

Plus John Barclay, Paul and the Gift; John Meier, Marginal Jew: Volume 5; Richard Longenecker, Romans (NIGTC)

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