Apostle of the Last Days: The Life, Letters, and Theology   -     By: C. Marvin Pate
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Apostle of the Last Days: The Life, Letters, and Theology

Kregel Publications / 2013 / Paperback

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A single-volume treatment based on the eschatological center of Paul's message

Paul's life, letters, and theology are unified by the theme of the overlapping of two ages: this age and the age to come. With the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the age to come (i.e., kingdom of God) broke into this present age but didn't end it. Where other important doctrines such as justification by faith, reconciliation, and the cross of Christ were key players in Paul's theology, Marvin Pate compellingly demonstrates that the overarching theme driving the Pauline corpus was indeed Paul's inaugurated eschatology. In fact, Paul's apocalyptic framework was only one of a number of other rival eschatologically focused religious perspectives of the day, such as the Imperial Cult, Hellenistic/syncretistic religion, and the merkabah Judaizers. Paul's vigorous debates with the churches he served centered on the exclusivity of the gospel of Christ that he preached: the nonnegotiable apocalypse of Jesus the Messiah. Apostle of the Last Days will be welcomed in the classroom as a one-volume treatment of Paul's life and letters as well as his theology.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 272
Vendor: Kregel Publications
Publication Date: 2013
Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 (inches)
ISBN: 0825438926
ISBN-13: 9780825438929

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Endorsements

From cover to cover, Pate offers an always cogent and often compelling case for his reading of the Jewish apostle to the Gentiles. This well-organized, clearly written volume will prove valuable to students and scholars alike. It is a helpful primer that will repay and reward readers in their quest to think the apostle's thoughts after him.
-Todd D Still,
George W Truett Theological Seminary

In Apostle of the Last Days, we find once again the type of robust engagement with the biblical text that we've come to expect from Marvin Pate. Grounded in an admirable familiarity with both the ancient world of the New Testament and contemporary Pauline scholarship, Pate offers a wonderful introduction to the life, letters, and theology of the apostle Paul.
-Paul Rhodes Eddy,
Bethel University

Paul's inaugurated eschatology was the determining factor in how the apostle understood the gospel, why he evangelized the world, and how he instructed his converts to live "in between the times". In clear and concise terms, Pate takes us through the thicket of first-century ideas about the end of the world and explains why reading Paul apocalyptically not only helps us understand his letters, but also reveals why Paul's opponents attacked him. Pate masterfully reveals why we shouldn't make the same mistake as Paul's opponents, thereby missing the heart of the gospel according to Paul.
-Rodney Reeves,
Southwest Baptist University

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  1. Birmingham, AL
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: male
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Easy Apostle Paul for the Seminary Student
    February 16, 2014
    Fighter4Life
    Birmingham, AL
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 3
    Meets Expectations: 4
    By LLeweLLyn Cooper

    Apostle of the Last Days by C. Marvin Pate will be the fourth Reference Book on the Apostle Paul that this reviewer has reviewed in the last year and a half. The difference is that this one was provided free by Kregel Academic books in exchange for an unbiased review.

    The book is lean in size (paperback about 320 pages) but heavy with information. Dr. Pate does an outstanding job of unifying Paul's life, letters and theology across all the themes that the Apostle addresses.

    C. Marvin Pate (PhD, Marquette University) is professor of biblical studies and Christian theology at Ouachita Baptist University, and has written several books including: Four Views on the Book of Revelation; The Writings of John: A Survey of the Gospel, Epistles, and Apocalypse: Romans (Teach the Text Commentary Series); and From Plato to Jesus. His scholarship is respected across the United States particularly in apocalyptic writing.

    The best aspect of Apostle is how user-friendly it is. This seminarian had an easy time finding subjects, themes and issues almost as easily as using a concordance. Having several charts such as one comparing Jewish Eschatology and Deuteronomic Tradition and another comparing Jewish Eschatology and Paul's Apocalypse of Christ help to clarify with visuals what words fail to clarify.

    All in all, this book is probably better for Seminary and serious bible students and pastors than it is for Professors, just because it is so lean. Still, I would recommend it to any professor who wants to make Paul, his letters and his theology accessible to students who haven't gotten it until now. The Apostle was a Pharisee of Pharisees and as such was theologically thick. This lean book makes him approachable and understandable as a writer, a person and as a theologian.
  2. Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Helpful View of Paul's End-Times Theology
    February 5, 2014
    Pastor Nathan
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Summary: All of the Apostle Paul's letter have a common theme of the overlapping ages - this present age and the age to come. This "inaugurated eschatology" was a tension that Paul addressed to believers in his epistle. This "already/not yet" also created tension in competing eschatologies which the apostle tried to dismantle in his presentation of the gospel.

    Review: In the Apostle of the Last Days - The Life, Letters, and Theology of Paul C. Marvin Pate makes a convincing and exhausting argument for the apostles inaugurated eschatology, meaning that Jesus has heralded the dawn of the age to come, but that age has not fully come yet.

    From there, Pate systematically works his way through each of the apostle's letters and demonstrates this inaugurated eschatology. He goes further, though and dives into the backgrounds of these letters and demonstrates how Paul's eschatology is in direct conflict with the eschatologies of the various peoples he addresses. From the various eschatological views in Judaism to the emperor worship predominant in the Roman world, Pate shows how Paul's Christ-centric eschatology opposed, threw down and ultimately defeated all other eschatological views.

    The book contains quite a bit of technical data. The biblical data and support for Pate's presentation is also very extensive, and sometimes exhausting to work through. But in the midst of all this information, Pate's attention remains with the Apostle Paul's focus. These epistles aren't just about some events that will happen years from now. No, instead, Paul's gospel is that the age to come has arrived in Jesus' death, burial and resurrection. Believers can have new life now, which will be fully realized and consummated when Jesus Christ returns.

    In fact, even amidst the mountains of technical data, and extraordinarily helpful charts, Pate has some rather encouraging and even poetic lines of inspiration. For example, in his conclusion on the book of Romans, Pate writes, "Though Paul would meet his death in Rome at the hands of Nero in the 60s, before it was over Paul would have the last word because the mighty Roman Empire would bow in defeat before the cross of Christ in 313, when Constantine converted to Christianity."

    Pates concluding section is also very helpful as he takes an abbreviated look at Paul's theology in a systematic overview.

    Certainly, this title will be a difficult work for many to work through. But to those willing to put the work into this book, it will illuminate the Pauline epistles.

    Rating: 4.5/5 (I Really Liked It)

    Note: I received a physical copy of this book for free in exchange for an unbiased review.
  3. Maricopa, AZ
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Interesting
    December 15, 2013
    Pastor Jim
    Maricopa, AZ
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    C. Marvin Pate has presented a unique perspective on the theology of Paul: Eschatology. He sees the work of Paul as a product of the times in which Apocalyptic Judaism was the dominant view of theology among the Jews. In doing so, he sees the record of Acts and the Pauline corpus as a unity. He sees Paul's (or Christian) eschatology as a development of the old Jewish view of the Present Age/Coming Age which is inaugurated eschatology into the present age that will be consummated at the coming age: the already/not yet paradigm. He sees the outworking of Paul's eschatological theology as a reaction or outcome of opposition from non-Christian Jews, the Roman imperial cult, and Hellenistic religion.

    He presents Paul as Apocalyptic Seer. It started with his apocalyptic vision of Christ on the road to Damascus when Paul realized Jesus was the inaugurator of the age to come. He was called to preach this Apocalyptic Gospel to the Gentiles. This message included confession that Jesus is the Christ; that Jesus' death and resurrection inaugurated the age to come; the means of salvation and entrance into the age to come was solely by faith; and Paul was to bring about the end-time conversion of the nations.

    Pate then proceeds epistle by epistle in chronological order giving the apocalyptic features of each. In this, he shows how Paul's inaugurate eschatology runs up against the popular apocalyptic scenarios of the times, including Hellenistic, Merkabah Mysticism, Roman, and Imperial Cult. He ends with a chapter summing up Paul's theology which he views through the apocalyptic gospel lens.

    There are some things that concerned me. First, I am not sold that apocalyptic is a correct term to use of his eschatological views. Second, His view of eschatology does not take into consideration Paul's dispensational influences on eschatology. Third, I am not convinced that eschatology is the essence of Paul's theology. It is evident that we see Paul's eschatology differently. Fourth, there is no index, which would have been an aid to the reader. Fifth, it is not the most readable and not always easy to follow. However, that said, this book should not be dismissed. I learned about the apocalyptic scenarios of the times and their relationships to Biblical eschatology. It gives insights that will aid anyone studying eschatology.

    [Thanks to Kregel Publications for providing a free copy of this book for my honest review.]
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