This book breaks a significant impasse in much Pauline interpretation today, pushing beyond both Lutheran and New perspectives on Paul to a noncontractual, apocalyptic reading of many of the apostles most famous -- and most troublesome -- texts.
In The Deliverance of God Douglas Campbell holds that the intrusion of an alien, essentially modern, and theologically unhealthy theoretical construct into the interpretation of Paul has produced an individualistic and contractual construct that shares more with modern political traditions than with either orthodox theology or Pauls first-century world. In order to counteract that influence, Campbell argues that it needs to be isolated and brought to the foreground before the interpretation of Pauls texts begins. When that is done, readings free from this intrusive paradigm become possible and surprising new interpretations unfold.
Douglas A. Campbell is professor of NewTestament at Duke Divinity School. His other books includeThe Quest for Paul's Gospel: A Suggested Strategy.
N. T. (Tom) Wright is Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, and one of the most highly respected biblical scholars in the world today.
Alan J. Torrance
University of St. Andrews
"This immensely insightful and, indeed, courageous volume is the result of two decades of ressearch by a New Testament scholar with unique theological insight. A work of profound significance for the theological world as much as for the world of Pauline scholarship."
Michael J. Gorman
Ecumenical Institute of Theology, St. Mary's Seminary and University
"Douglas Campbell's continuation of the quest for Paul's gospel is a bold exercise in deconstruction and reconstruction. One may disagree with parts of his analysis, or take a somewhat different route to the same destination, but his overal thesis is persuasive; for Paul, justification is liberative, participatory, transformative, Trinitarian, and communal. This is a truly theological and ecumenical work with which all serious students of Paul must now come to terms."
N. T. Wright
Bishop of Durham
"Campbell's massive book picks up the big ideas that dominate the study of Paul, spins them around, spreads them out in a novel way, and insists that we see them in an unusual and disturbing light. Even those of us who remain unconvinced by his bold and provocative proposals will have our breath take away by the scale, the scope and, above all, the sheer surprise of this historical, exegetical, and theological tour de force."
John M. G. Barclay
"Campbell's massive new work is startlingly original, sometimes brilliant in its insights, and always boldly provocative. His strongly antithetical vision identifies 'participation in Christ' as the sole core of Pauline theology and produces the most radical rereading of Romans 1-4 for more than a generation. Even those who disagree will be forced to clarify their views as never before, and this theologically passionate attempt to rethink Paul at a fundamental level will make a considerable impact on Pauline scholarship for years to come."
The King's University College
"Will the thick, high walls of traditional Justification theory, erected on the foundations of centuries of conventional readings of Romans and buttressed by modern political and economic theory, finally 'come a tumblin' down'? Will Paul's revolutionary apocalyptic message be delivered from imprisonment in that mighty fortress?
"Arming himself with an immense array of theoretical, historical, exegetical, philosophical, and theological weapons, Douglas Campbell launches a massive attack on the bastions of Justification theory to ruins. Only then, he believes, will Paul's gospel, thus freed from captivity, burst forth again in its original truth and power. The consequences for Christian life are not only theological but also intrinsically social, political, economic.
"The battle over Paul's gospel is engaged in this book with an intensity, passion, and breadth of learning rarely seen since the days of Luther. Will Justification theorists be able to defend the walls? Will Campbell triumph? Or does the outcome still hang in the balance? Any scholar with a stake in Paul, the gospel, and Christian truth will have to read this book to find out."