Wednesday, April 9, 2008

John Byron's New Book

I wanted to highlight my good friend, John Byron's latest offering Recent Research on Paul and Slavery (Sheffield Phoenix Press; due July 2008).

Here is the description:

New Testament scholarship and Paul have had a complicated relationship over the question of slavery. For many decades there has been a struggle to reconcile the abolitionist cause with a biblical text that seemingly supports the institution of slavery. Then the more recent discovery of inscriptions and documents referring to slaves in antiquity has added new dimensions to the debate. Furthermore, new interpretative approaches to the New Testament, including social-scientific criticism, rhetorical criticism and postcolonial criticism, have challenged earlier interpretations of Paul’s statements about slavery. The issue has even more recently taken on a new shape as descendants of former North American slaves have engaged with the way Paul has been interpreted and used to justify the enslavement of their ancestors. In this volume, John Byron provides a survey of 200 years of scholarly interpretation of Paul and slavery with a focus on the last 35 years. After a general overview of the history of research, Byron focuses in turn on four specific areas: African-American responses to Paul, Paul’s slavery metaphors, the elliptical phrase in 1 Corinthians 7.21, and the letter to Philemon. An epilogue highlights four areas in which scholarship is continuing to change its understanding of ancient slavery and, in consequence, its interpretation of Paul. New Testament students and scholars will find the volume an valuable specialist resource that collects and analyses the most important developments on Paul and slavery.

I know of no more qualified scholar than John to address the thorny issue that is Paul and slavery. This will be a must read for any student of Paul and the history of interpretation of this important issue.

For those who want to know more about John Byron click here and here.


Byron said...

Hey Matt, Thanks for the plug!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this book. I look forward to reading it. This particular topic-- Paul and slavery, is of great interest to me.