Hubbard begins each major section with a brief narrative featuring a fictional character in one of the great cities of that era. Then he elaborates on various aspects of the cultural setting related to each particular vignette, discussing the implications of those venues for understanding Paul’s letters and applying their message to our lives today. Addressing a wide array of cultural and traditional issues, Hubbard discusses:• Religion and superstition:• Education, philosophy, and oratory:• Urban society:• Households and family life in the Greco-Roman world:
This work is based on the premise that the better one understands the historical and social context in which the New Testament (and Paul’s letters) was written, the better one will understand the writings of the New Testament themselves. Passages become clearer, metaphors deciphered, and images sharpened. Teachers, students, and laypeople alike will appreciate Hubbard’s unique, illuminating, and well-researched approach to the world of the early church.
2. Mike Bird (no introduction necessary!)2 volumes coming out. First, as sole author, Crossing Over Sea and Land: Jewish Missionary Activity in the Second Temple Period.
Description + Blurbs:
What was the extent and nature of Jewish proselytizing activity amongst non-Jews in Palestine and the Greco-Roman diaspora leading up to and during the beginnings of the Christian era? Was there a clear missional direction? How did Second-Temple Judaism recruit converts and gain sympathizers? This book strives to address these questions, representing an update of the discussion while also breaking new ground. A “source book” of key texts is provided at the end.
“One of the more fascinating discussions in New Testament scholarship today involves the question as to what pre-Christian Judaism thought about mission, if it did so at all. In this book, Michael Bird not only brings much-needed definitional clarity but also offers a sensible and clear path through the multifaceted thicket of historical evidence. Anyone seeking a deeper understanding of either first-century Judaism or Christian origins can ill afford to neglect taking a study like this along for the journey.”—Nicholas Perrin, Franklin S. Dyrness Associate Professor of Biblical Studies, Wheaton College, Illinois
“To what extent were Jews in the late Second Temple Period engaged in a conversion mission to non-Jews? Put differently, to what extent was the Christian mission to Gentiles simply the continuation of a missionary impulse already present in the Jewish matrix of the Christian movement? In Crossing Over Sea and Land, Michael Bird provides us with an up-to-date, balanced and thoroughly readable introduction to this complex and hotly debated issue. Highly recommended, both for those already engaged with the issue and for those seeking a reliable introduction to it.” —Terence L. Donaldson, Lord and Lady Coggan Professor of New Testament Studies, Wycliffe College, Toronto
Bird and Preston Sprinkle as co-editors/contributors will also have The Faith of Jesus Christ: Exegetical, Biblical, and Theological Studies make its American debut.
What does “saved by faith” mean?
One of the most perplexing problems in Pauline studies is the meaning of the phrase pistis christou. Is Paul speaking of our faith in Christ or of Christ’s own faithfulness toward God? Here noted contemporary New Testament scholars join forces—and lock horns—to shed light on the answer by presenting rigorous exegetical studies from both sides of the debate. They also bring fresh creative proposals to bear on the problem, and place the discussion in the wider spectrum of historical, biblical, and systematic theology.
The most penetrating and comprehensive attempt to date to grapple with the significance of Jesus’ faithfulness and obedience for Christian salvation, and the extent to which it is represented in key biblical texts.
CONTRIBUTORS University of Durham luminary James D.G. Dunn authors an erudite foreword; and editor Michael Bird introduces the problems and prospects for a New Testament conversation on the topic. Debbie Hunn, Stanley E. Porter, and Andrew W. Pitts contribute essays about the background of the pistis christou discussion. Douglas A. Campbell, R. Barry Matlock, Paul Foster, and Richard Bell clarify Pauline texts in contention. Mark A. Seifrid, Francis Watson, Preston M. Sprinkle, and Ardel B. Caneday explore Pauline exegesis, hermeneutics, and theology. The witness of the wider New Testament is covered by Peter G. Bolt, Willis H. Salier, Bruce A. Lowe, and David deSilva. Finally, Mark W. Elliott and Benjamin Myers offer historical and theological reflections from the church fathers, Karl Barth, and others
Description + Blurbs:
Nearly everyone knows something about Jesus, but how much of what we “know” really comes from the Bible? In this thoroughly insightful book we can find the full portrait of Jesus as described in the New Testament, one that is complex yet rich, one that is diverse yet unified, one that explains who Jesus was and how he continues to speak to our world.
“Many want a piece of Jesus, but few want all of him. What else explains the stampede for books, videos, and seminars offering a truncated version of the biblical Christ? How starkly this book stands in contrast! Professor Warrington unveils a full portrait of Jesus, cast in the light of the entire New Testament and wholly faithful to the original. Has your Jesus been downsized? Pick up this book and find out!”—J. Ed Komoszewski, Coauthor, Reinventing Jesus and Putting Jesus in His Place
“The shelves are full of books, written at all levels, on Jesus. Nevertheless, Dr. Keith Warrington has discerned an unresolved need of mid-range readers and addressed it commendably. Discovering Jesus in the New Testament charts the course of reflection on Jesus—his life, works, identity and theological significance—through the whole of the New Testament writings and does so in a way that is eminently readable and accessible. What emerges is a carefully conceived description of Jesus that embraces both the rich diversity of first-century articulation and the profound common threads of Christology that assure us of a single (though marvelously complex) conversation.”—Philip H. Towner, Dean of The Nida Institute for Biblical Scholarship, American Bible Society
“With clarity and insight, Warrington takes the reader on a whirlwind journey through the multifaceted—yet complementary—presentations of Jesus found in the New Testament writings. Very few introductions to Christology can claim the balance of comprehensiveness, simplicity, and lucidity found in this volume”—Mark L. Strauss, Professor of New Testament, Bethel Seminary San Diego
Description + Blurbs:
This book offers advanced undergraduates, graduate students, and interested laypeople an introduction to a wide range of approaches to Paul that are relevant to, yet go beyond, traditional theological and historical concerns.
Beginning with Warren Carter’s observations on Paul’s primary interactions being with Rome, rather than with the followers of Jesus or first-century Jews, and moving through Steven Friesen’s argument for a different picture of Paul as activist and Mark Nanos’s challenge to prevailing interpretations of 1 Corinthians 9 and Paul’s observance of “the law,” leading New Testament scholars provide helpful surveys of the field and offer new insights and possibilities for further research.
An excellent supplement to standard textbooks, each chapter of this compilation offers suggestions for further reading. The book also includes indices of modern authors, subjects, and ancient sources.
CONTRIBUTORS Warren Carter, “Paul and the Roman Empire: Recent Perspectives” Steven J. Friesen, “Paul and Economics: The Jerusalem Collection as an Alternative to Patronage” Jerry L. Sumney, “Paul and His Opponents: The Search” Charles H. Cosgrove, “Paul and Ethnicity: A Selective History of Interpretation” A. Andrew Das, “Paul and the Law: Pressure Points in the Debate” Mark D. Nanos, “Paul and Judaism: Why not Paul’s Judaism?” Deborah Krause, “Paul and Women: Telling Women to Shut Up Is More Complicated than You Might Think” Mark D. Given, “Paul and Rhetoric: A Sophos in the Kingdom of God”
“These outstanding scholars, always stimulating and occasionally provocative, explore the interface between the Pauline letters and certain contemporary interests of the academy, such as empire, economics, ethnicity, patronage, gender issues, rhetoric, and power, in addition to more traditional Pauline subjects. These cutting-edge essays reveal the liveliness of recent, new approaches to Paul, and present an invaluable resource for staying abreast of current discussions.”—Donald A. Hagner, George Eldon Ladd Professor Emeritus of New Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary
“Paul Unbound is an important collection of essays on Paul and his letters, which seeks to go behind and beyond many of the traditional interpretations of the great Christian apostle. Its eight chapters deal with political, economic, cultural, rhetorical, and religious issues that can be found inherent in Paul's writings, as well as matters of Paul's own self-identity, which its authors believe have not often been treated—or, at least, not often enough or sufficiently considered—in more exegetical and theological treatments. Its topics, of course, cannot be fully explored in such relatively short chapters. Nor are they definitively stated or conclusively explicated. Nonetheless, this small volume of studies constitutes a significant introduction to a wide range of sociological matters reflected in Paul's writings, which call for serious consideration, informed interaction, and judicious response on the part of all NT scholars.”—Richard N. Longenecker, Professor Emeritus of New Testament, Wycliffe College, University of Toronto
“Paul Unbound provides not only history of scholarship but also a reliable snapshot of the current state of Pauline studies, especially on topics of keen interest in the past several years.—Dale B. Martin, Woolsey Professor of Religious Studies, Yale University
Aside from Jesus, the Apostle Paul had the greatest formative influence on the early Christian movement. Yet who was this passionate missionary who carried the message of Christ throughout the Mediterranean world? The New Testament writings give us not one but two portraits of Paul. We read numerous details of Paul’s life and relationships in the Book of Acts, and we also find an additional set of details about Paul’s activities in his letters. Yet how consistent are these two portraits? And which one gives us the most accurate picture of the historical Paul? In this volume Thomas E. Phillips examines the portrayals of Paul in recent biblical scholarship in the light of these two major NT portraits. Believing the apostolic conference at Jerusalem to be a watershed event, Phillips draws conclusions that help contemporary readers get a more accurate picture of Paul.
"Here is a helpful, detailed compilation of all the historical data that can be gleaned from Paul’s letters and from Acts in the attempt to determine whether the emerging pictures of Paul and his mission are compatible or otherwise. The author concludes that the pictures are somewhat divergent with Acts presenting a later, more attractive Paul, but he presents the evidence with such care and impartiality that readers are free to make their own decision on this complex issue."—I. Howard Marshall, Emeritus Professor of New Testament Exegesis, University of Aberdeen
"In this carefully written and accessible book, Thomas E. Phillips shows that portraits of Paul vary widely according to how they see the relationship between Paul's own letters and claims about Paul made in the Book of Acts. Some scholars discount what Acts says, while others use Acts to correct Paul's statements. Phillips argues that, while Acts develops its own perspective on Paul, it also provides crucial information."—Bruce Chilton, Bernard Iddings Bell Professor of Religion, Bard College, Annandale, NY
"In this lively book Phillips revisits an old bone of contention in Pauline studies—relating the Paul of the letters to the Paul of Acts. Eschewing oversimplified and preordained responses, he carefully tabulates data sets from both sources, working through comparisons of Paul’s travels, broad cultural background, and relationships with other early church leaders and members, to reach a final balanced and judicious weighting of the two sets of sources. The result is the crafting of a careful methodological and biographical trajectory that proponents of both sides of this frequently polarized debate will be able to trace through to arrive at a more reasoned and reasonable position. The main text is clear, with numerous jaunty analogies and metaphors; students in particular will benefit from its narratives, while scholars will profit further from the extensive annotations that Phillips supplies. Overall, Phillips is to be commended for bringing this critical set of questions within Pauline studies back into the foreground, and for engaging it with such sustained, disciplined, and frequently insightful enthusiasm."—Douglas A. Campbell, Associate Professor of New Testament, Duke Divinity School, Durham, NC
"The quest for the 'real' Paul, pursued with renewed vigor in recent scholarship, has been beset too often by skewed sifting of evidence and wishful thinking. Not surprisingly, then, we find the Paul we want to find. Tom Phillips admirably resists this tendency with his meticulous and comprehensive discussion of the relevant 'data sets' of information regarding Paul in both the undisputed letters and the book of Acts. His disciplined, comparative approach carefully lays out the material for readers to make their own informed judgments. Along the way, Phillips sprinkles in his own judicious conclusions with a light but sure touch. Thoroughly abreast of contemporary scholarship and rigorously rooted in the biblical text, this is a most welcome and worthy reassessment of Pauline biography.—F. Scott Spencer, Professor of New Testament and Preaching, Baptist Theological Seminary, Richmond, VA