Paul and the Gift
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Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. / 2017 / Paperback
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Paul and the Gift

Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. / 2017 / Paperback

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Product Description

Named one of the top 10 books of 2015 by the Academy of Parish Clergy! "This is one of the more important books on Paul to appear in many years. It reopens the question of the theology of grace in the Judaism of Paul's time and carefully redescribes his construal of the God of Israel's gift in Jesus Christ,"---First Things. 672 pages, softcover. Eerdmans.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 672
Vendor: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
Publication Date: 2017
Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 (inches)
ISBN: 0802875327
ISBN-13: 9780802875327

Publisher's Description

In this book esteemed Pauline scholar John Barclay presents a strikingly fresh reading of grace in Paul's theology, studying it in view of ancient notions of "gift" and shining new light on Paul's relationship to Second Temple Judaism.

Paul and the Gift centers on divine gift-giving, which for Paul, Barclay says, is focused and fulfilled in the gift of Christ. He offers a new appraisal of Paul's theology of the Christ-event as gift as it comes to expression in Galatians and Romans, and he presents a nuanced and detailed discussion of the history of reception of Paul. This exegetically responsible, theologically informed, hermeneutically useful book shows that a respectful, though not uncritical, reading of Paul contains resources that remain important for Christians today.

Author Bio

John M. G. Barclay is Lightfoot Professor of Divinity at Durham University. His previous books include Pauline Churches and Diaspora Jews and Obeying the Truth: Paul's Ethics in Galatians.

Editorial Reviews

Scot McKnight
Books & Culture
"Pauline studies and the church will be indebted to Barclay's Paul and the Gift for decades, and those who read and ponder will never be the same again."

C. Kavin Rowe
First Things
"One of the more important books on Paul to appear in many years."

Christian Century
"Technical, learned, and masterful, this book could prove to be the most rewarding and influential exposition of Pauline theology written in nearly two decades."

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  1. Barclay
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Paul and the Gift
    October 16, 2015
    Barclay
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    This review was written for Paul and the Gift.
    I have been a student of Pauline Studies for thirty plus years. I both love and hate Paul. Paul is like a bear you wrestle and when you think you finally pinned the bear, you look up and the bear is standing up again! I have moved from Gunther Bornkamms, Paul through Wrights Paul and the Faithfulness of God and everything in between. I have variegated nomized and read virtually most every legitimate commentary on Pauls letters written in the last thirty years.

    I was raised in what we in the US would call a Protestant tradition by parents who showed up to services on Sunday, but had no real commitment to the good news. When I was fifteen years old, my Mother developed a malignant brain tumor and dedicated her life to the Christ message. I watched her die with a real attitude of gratitude for the gift.

    Since that time, I have dedicated myself to the Historical Jesus and the Theology of Paul. My emphasis has always been on the theology of Paul, as I am more interested in the canonical understanding of Jesus Remembered than in some historical reconstruction.

    Studying Paul has made me feel like an outcast. I have spent years of my life in Pauline studies and have found no contemporaries. I do not agree with the new perspective on Paul and have always felt that Sanders construction was not nuanced appropriately and could not hold water. A flattened out understanding of Second Temple Judaism, and especially of the concept of grace in that period, made the schema oversimplified and, therefore, unsupportable. I was, also, not a full proponent of the old perspective as it was, in my opinion, not appropriately nuanced. To me, the new perspective had a stake driven through its heart, and the old perspective only survived with a minimal heartbeat.

    I came to an understanding of Paul (a few years ago) that didnt seem to match anyones perspective from Moo through Jewett. I felt alone, and without any categories though which to understand/communicate my perspective on Paul.

    I have just completed reading Dr. Barclays book, Paul and the Gift and have not found one thing to disagree with. The book has (finally) allowed me to develop the structure/categories through which I can communicate my understanding of Paul.

    I was exhausted by my search to understand Paul and despairing whether I would ever find an understanding of Paul that corresponded to my perspective. From Bauckman, Hengel, to Green, I had done my homework regarding Second Temple Judaism and come to my own conclusions without any category of explanation or contemporary support for what I believed.

    There is no old or new perspective on Paul. There is only Paul in all the spectacular genius that is Paul. The unmerited gift of God in Christ (incongruent as Dr. Barclay would explain it) is the annihilation of all social constructions of worth. Pauls encounter with the risen Christ, and the destruction of his social capital ensured his understanding of the gospel and his Gentile mission. If his social capital as a Torah observant Jew and his zeal for the law accounted for nothing relative to the incongruent gift then there was no worth in any recipient that merited the gift. There can no longer be Jew or Greek, or salve or free. Paul "falls within" the scope of Second Temple Judaism, but is set apart by his unique understanding of incongruent gift and his anthropology. Again, because of his understanding of incongruence, and his Gentile mission, his anthropology had to develop along certain lines.

    I was also able to come to an understanding of our responsibilities regarding the gift. Gifts were not given in antiquity with no expectation of an appropriate response/obligation. If we read Paul carefully, through Dr. Barclays lens, we see that, indeed, the gift requires us to respond through the crucifixion of the old man based upon the incongruent gift of the new man and the new creation.

    I highly recommend this book to any student of Paul who has struggled in the manner I have. Thank you to Dr. Barclay for his gift to Pauline Studies.
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