Apostle of the Crucified Lord: A Theological Introduction to Paul and His Letters

Apostle of the Crucified Lord: A Theological Introduction to Paul and His Letters

Apostle of the Crucified Lord: A Theological Introduction to Paul and His Letters

Apostle of the Crucified Lord: A Theological Introduction to Paul and His Letters

Excerpt

This book is offered first of all to those who wish to engage the apostle Paul and his letters because they believe that he and they have something to say to the contemporary Christian church. It is also offered to others who are interested not only in the historical and literary aspects of Paul's letters, but also, and even primarily, in their religious or theological content. The book is designed to be read in conjunction with Paul's letters.

Writing a textbook on the apostle Paul and his letters is a daunting task. The interpretation of every verse, nearly every word, is disputed. The texts have been analyzed by some of the greatest minds of the last two thousand years and continue to be placed under the microscope by thousands of scholars — and millions of lay readers — around the world. Trying to write on the meaning of Paul and his letters is similar to preparing a book on the meaning of life: there are so many points of view on the topic that the author is forced primarily to offer his or her own perspective.

That is what I do in this book. Nevertheless, although this book's perspective is distinctive, it is neither isolated from the interpretations of others nor so distinctive as to be idiosyncratic. In fact, much of what this book says about Paul can and will be found elsewhere, for I have of course learned much from many, and on many Pauline topics there is actually quite a bit of general agreement. Writing about this man and his letters, therefore, is somewhat like conducting a symphony. One repeatedly reads the score carefully, listens to interpretations of it by respected conductors, reads the score again (perhaps while listening to first one interpretation and then another), and so on. For more than two decades I have read and listened, developing my own (ever-evolving) interpretation and occasionally producing recordings myself.

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