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The Theology of Paul the Apostle Hardcover – 1 Nov 1997

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Hardcover, 1 Nov 1997
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 768 pages
  • Publisher: T.& T.Clark Ltd (1 Nov. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0567085988
  • ISBN-13: 978-0567085986
  • Product Dimensions: 23.8 x 16.4 x 5.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,275,423 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'An exceptionally fine presentation of Pauline theology - detailed yet clear, lavishly documented yet readable; a major contribution to clarification and order in this confused and controversial field of study.' C. F. D. Moule; 'Dunn assembles his classic, distinctive handywork in a format that is seamless in its flow, up to date in its scholarship, and (as ever) easily accessible in its presentation.... As a resource book for the study of what Paul had to say on any particular topic, this book is unequalled, as one of the most important of modern Pauline scholars assesses the texts in his own distinguished way.' Bruce W. Longenecker, Tyndale House, Cambridge, Anvil; 'Surely this is James Dunn's best book so far. His magisterial, lucid exposition of Paul's thought will be welcomed warmly by scholars, teachers, and students alike. This is a work of outstanding scholarship: there is no comparable book in English.' Graham N. Stanton --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

James Dunn is Professor Emeritus Lightfoot Professor of Theology at the University of Durham --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Paul was the first and greatest Christian theologian. Read the first page
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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Aquinas on 25 Oct. 2007
Format: Perfect Paperback
This is modern exegesis at its absolute best. It is evident that years of thought and reflection (if not a whole life!) have gone into producing this masterwork. Whilst I am very far from being an expert on justification by faith, it is apparent that Dunn's position is far removed from the extrinsic justification doctrine promulgated by Luther. Indeed, he seems to come very close to the Catholic position. At least, one would imagine his being comfortable in the company of the exponents of the protestant holiness movement. Dunn has been accused of Pelagianisn or semi-Pelaganism, but Dunn has simply avoided the "either/or" trap into which many protestants fall - is it all down to grace or is it down to us? It is all down to grace but we must play our part (animated by grace) by consenting to being moulded into an Ikon of Christ.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 24 reviews
71 of 76 people found the following review helpful
A great guide to understanding Paul's theology 18 Feb. 2000
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful summary of Paul's theology written by a prominent New Testament scholar. I have been waiting for a recent book on Paul's theology that combines solid content with readability and clarity. I finally found it in this book! Dunn embraces the "new perspective" on Pauline studies on the gospel and the law. Nevertheless, a traditionalist would still find Dunn's views thought-provoking. I also like this book because it is so user-friendly and well-organized. Dunn organizes each chapter by topics (e.g. "God and humankind," "the gospel of Christ," " the process of salvation," etc.) and it is easy to follow. I highly recommend this book to layreaders, serious students, and scholars alike. It is a must for those who wish to read and understand more about Pauline theology!
38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
Wow 19 Feb. 2007
By Robert Jackson - Published on
Format: Perfect Paperback Verified Purchase
The depth of scholarship in this work is stunning - Dunn is a master of his field. But the true value of this work lies in its closeness to the text - it will have you diving for Paul's letters again and again. His systematic approach is well conceived and structured; he is careful never to over-conclude or run ahead with an argument: this work is clearly the product of careful laboring over the texts, with secondary sources used purely as aids, not drivers of discussion.

From the start his insights are profound, such as his observation that for Paul, 'sarx' (flesh) is very much an ethnic designation, and it is never directly blamed as a source for sin in Romans 7. The book leaves room for as much agreement or disagreement as you care to share - merely engaging with Dunn's arguments and analysis is the most rewarding exercise for truly encountering Paul that I have ever come across. I have never come across a book so erudite at reading between the lines of Paul, and investigating his unstated assumptions about God and humanity.

Take up this magisterial work - but keep your Bible, and preferably a notebook, close at hand: this is no mere rehearsal of the standard debates about Paul, but an earnest and scholarly attempt to make sense of a grand tapestry - an attempt which respects the fact that Paul wrote with a genius that has stupefied two millenia of great minds.
34 of 39 people found the following review helpful
Excellent exposition of Paul's Theology 10 Feb. 2005
By M. Scott - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I think this is a truly exceptional work, from which I have gathered many valuable insights. I feel that it has been a valuable addition to my collection and well worth the money. Dunn presents a scholarly, detailed (and theologically unbiased) study into the writings of Paul.

He is able to tie up a lot of "loose ends", and make many theological connections which might be elusive to the average bible-reader (like me), revealing what he sees as a stable foundation of Paul's theology. It is well organized and annotated, making for easy topical study.

Just note that this is not an orthodox Christian book, although Dunn always treats the Scriptures and the subject matter with a great deal of care and respect.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
A great guide for understanding Paul's theology 17 Feb. 2000
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful summary of Paul's theology from a prominent New Testament scholar on Pauline studies. I've always wanted a recent work on Paul's theology that combines detailed, informative content with clarity. I have found it in this book. It packs a lot of information and yet it is clearly written and understandable for the lay reader, seminary student, and scholar alike.
Incidentally, Dunn embraces the "new perspective" on Paul and the Law. However, a traditionalist in Pauline studies will find Dunn's views thought-provoking.
I also liked this book because it is very user-friendly. The chapters are organized by topics ("Prologue," "God and Humankind" "The Gospel of Jesus Christ" " The Process of Salvation" etc.) and it is very easy to follow. The reader will also be impressed with the extensive bibliography that Dunn includes at the very beginning. For any student and reader who desires to understand Paul's theology, this book by Dunn is a must! I highly recommend it.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Fantastic compendium of Pauline scholarship 21 Nov. 2007
By Samuel M Smith - Published on
Format: Perfect Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the standard introduction to Paul's theology. Using the template of Romans, Dunn lays out clearly Paul's theology from the rest of his letters in a way that makes for ease of reference. His clear writing style makes this book commendable to college-age students, but his profundity makes it valuable to the most experienced scholar.

This work has some rather stunning insights. For instance, Dunn's thesis that the invitation for those who are in Christ to die Christ's death rather than Adam's clarifies and encapsulates Paul's thought on one of the biggest questions any religion is called upon to answer. That is Dunn at his best, so far in the book as I have gotten.

Dunn is the man who coined the phrase "The New Perspective on Paul" so obviously his work is sympathetic to what may more appropriately be termed a new perspective on Judaism. Thus, those among us who admire reformation theology will have a few axes to grind with this work. But I am yet to find a topic in which he is as unfair to those with whom he disagrees as they are as a rule to him and his views.

Unlike his contemporary N.T. Wright he does not see the "story" of Israel as the overarching category for interpretation, so his work is a bit more atomistic and less likely to find a totally unified theological construction. But unlike some others, he does not see contradiction everywhere he looks in Paul's writing. He accomplishes this admirable feat by not confusing Paul's metaphors with irreducible truth.

This is one of the few books that I have purchased that I wish I had in hardback (or better yet on my computer). I expect to wear at least one copy out in the course of completing my doctoral dissertation.
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