Studying Paul’s Letters provides a survey of the most relevant current methods in Pauline scholarship. Joseph A. Marchal leads a group of scholars who are also experienced teachers in courses on Paul. More than a series of “how-to” essays in interpretation, each chapter in this volume shows how differences in starting point and interpretive decisions shape different ways of understanding Paul. Each teacher-scholar focuses on what a particular method brings to interpretation and applies that method to a text in Paul’s letters, aiming not just at the beginning student but at the “tough choices” every teacher must make in balancing information with critical reflection. Studying Paul’s Letters is organized for use in a single semester course on Paul and is perfect for graduate students, seminarians, and undergraduate students.
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The essays in Studying Paul’s Letters, each written by a first-tier scholar, manage to demonstrate cutting-edge Pauline scholarship in ways that remain highly accessible for beginning students. These essays will not only provoke conversation about difference in perspective, but also reveal the multiple ways that seemingly disparate approaches still often intertwine. I can think of no other collection suitable as supplementary readings for students that so effectively unites these various goals.
—Robert Paul Seesengood, assistant professor of religious studies, Albright College
Pauline studies, long the most methodologically monolithic and theologically timid area of New Testament studies, bursts out of its shell with this textbook. I feel I’ve been waiting for it for a very long time.
—Stephen D. Moore, professor of New Testament, Drew Theological School
This is arguably the best and most accessible textbook for a course on reading Paul. This book will help readers learn not only about Paul in particular but also how one might approach the New Testament in general. The latter aspect is especially helpful since it focuses on approaches that are still seldom covered in most textbooks on biblical criticism, like reading from a spatial and a visual perspective. Most importantly, contributors to this volume write as teachers as well as researchers. I will no doubt adopt this book for my next course on Paul.
—Tat-siong Benny Liew, professor of New Testament, Pacific School of Religion
This introduction to Paul’s letters is a surprisingly readable entrée into a spectrum of ideological approaches to interpreting biblical texts. Foregrounding accountability for the results of our engagement with Scripture, each chapter in turn offers a substantive engagement with and challenge to more traditional methods of reading Paul. Perhaps more importantly, any given chapter simultaneously highlights the highly political nature not only of Paul’s letters but also of our interpretations of them. A course on Paul today, whether for the undergraduate or seminary level, would be woefully lacking without this text.
—Jennifer Bird, associate professor of religion, Greensboro College