A vibrant and growing field of discussion in contemporary New Testament studies is the question of ‘apocalyptic’ thought in Paul. What is often lacking in this discussion, however, is a close comparison of Paul’s would-be apocalyptic theology with the Jewish and Christian apocalyptic literature of his time, and the worldview that literature expresses. This book addresses that challenge.
Covering four key theological themes (epistemology, eschatology, cosmology and soteriology), J. P. Davies places Paul ‘among the apocalypses’ in order to evaluate recent attempts at outlining an ‘apocalyptic’ approach to his letters. While affirming much of what those approaches have argued, and agreeing that ‘apocalyptic’ is a crucial category for an understanding of the apostle, Davies also raises some important questions about the dichotomies which lie at the heart of the ‘apocalyptic Paul’ movement.
This study reliably conveys the broad outlines for those who know nothing about the ‘apocalyptic Paul’ movement, while adding enough well sourced material to interest those more familiar with it.
this work is lucid and well-written, and Davies argues his thesis well. Davies’s approach in summarizing opposing views is balance … Davies makes contributions in at least four areas: (1) he traces the flow of thought within the “apocalyptic Paul” movement; (2) he helpfully explains the complexities behind defining the “slippery” terms “apocalyptic” and “cosmology”; (3) he illuminates and corrects many of the false dichotomies apparent within this movement; and (4) he fills a lacuna in Pauline studies by reading Paul against the backdrop of select Jewish and Christian apocalypses.
—Southeastern Theological Review
Davies’ study provides a good insight in the current discourse on the apocalyptic in anglophone research. It offers a helpful differentiation in the problem of apocalyptical Paul who is not that one-sided dualistic apostle he is long thought to have been.
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James P. Davies is Tutor in New Testament at Trinity College, Bristol, UK.