Monday, January 03, 2011

Second Paul Volume Done!

Well, only six months late--and almost a year since I finished the first volume--I have finished Paul: Soldier of Peace.  (The first volume was Paul: Messenger of Grace)  It will probably be July before it comes out.  I'm even more excited about this book than the first, even though I'm sure I could have done better if I'd taken even just another week.  But it must be done!

I believe this book will pretty much be the only book out there that brings Wesleyan (revivalist) theology into dialog with the developments of the last thirty years of Pauline studies (admittedly, I have not yet dived into the new Romans commentary from Beacon Hill).  Certainly there are scholarly commentaries that dialog with recent developments in Pauline studies (e.g., Robert Jewett's Romans commentary in the Hermeneia series, probably the current gold standard).  And there have always been Wesleyan interpretations of Romans.

What I don't think exists are Wesleyan treatments of Paul that fully take into account the immense changes in Pauline studies in the last thirty years.  I suspect the first five chapters of this book on Romans will be astoundingly eye-opening to a Wesleyan audience that just has no idea.  If I had the resources, I would put a copy in the hands of every Wesleyan pastor.

The last five chapters look at the most disputed writings of Paul (Colossians, Ephesians, 2 Thessalonians, and the Pastorals).  Here I don't think I have dodged any of the landmines, although I leave it up to the reader to decide what they think on issues like pseudonymity.  What I have not done is wished the issues away.  There is just no getting around the fact that the Pastorals and Ephesians are significantly unlike Paul's central writings in many respects.  If we are actually interested in listening to what they have to say, we have to take the differences into account, whether we think Paul has changed his mind or his secretary or whether we think these documents were written to convey Paul's voice to a generation some time after his death.

Now the able hands of Kevin Scott at Wesleyan Publishing House will take off the rough edges ;-)  Thanks to all the great help there and for all the sharpening those of you in blogland have brought to the writing as well.

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