N. T. Wright, Bishop of Durham, scholar and writer of distinction, turns his attention and considerable enthusiasm to the writings of Paul of Tarsus, whom he considers to be the intellectual equivalent of Plato, Aristotle or Seneca. He captures and reveals illuminating details from Paul’s unique Judaic, Hellenistic, and Roman heritage, allowing a rounded picture to emerge of an integrated philosophy—a unique, Christian theology.
Paul: Fresh Perspectives combines the virtues of detailed scholarship with an accessible style and a passion for exploring the message of Paul. The book is based on the prestigious Hulsean Lectures given by the author in Cambridge in spring 2005.
“The first world, the one by which he ascended the mountain, was of course Judaism. Second-Temple Judaism” (Page 3)
“For Paul, to be ‘in the Messiah’, to belong to the Messiah’s body, meant embracing an identity rooted in Judaism, lived out in the Hellenistic world, and placing a counter-claim against Caesar’s aspiration to world domination, while being both more and less than a simple combination of elements from within those three.” (Page 6)
“The second world was that of the Greek, or Hellenistic, culture which by Paul’s day had permeated most of the recesses of the Eastern Mediterranean world and a good deal beyond.” (Page 4)
“Paul invokes the great stories of God, Israel and the world because his view of salvation itself, and with it justification and all the rest, is not an ahistorical scheme about how individuals come into a right relationship with God, but rather tells how the God of Abraham has fulfilled his promises at last through the apocalyptic death and resurrection of his own beloved Son.” (Page 10)
“The main point about narratives in the second-Temple Jewish world, and in that of Paul, is not simply that people liked telling stories as illustrations of, or scriptural proofs for, this or that experience or doctrine, but rather that second-Temple Jews believed themselves to be actors within a real-life narrative.” (Page 11)