In this new, completely rewritten edition of his major 1986 book, Francis Watson extends, updates, and clarifies his response to E.áP. Sanders's view of Paul, in order to point the way beyond the polarization of "new" and "old" perspectives on the apostle.
The Paul who comes to light in these pages is agent and thinker, apostle and theologian. He is a highly contextual figure, yet his account of Christian identity continues to shape the church's life to this day. He is the founder of mainly Gentile, Christ-believing communities, separated from the synagogue; and yet he can see this distinctive existence as an authentic response to Jewish scripture and tradition, as fulfilled in Christ. He is a many-sided figure, transcending all our attempts to categorize him or to co-opt him for our own favored causes.
J. Ross Wagner
— Princeton Theological Seminary
"Like a fine wine, Francis Watson's insightful early work on Paul has aged well, retaining its fundamental character while acquiring new depths of subtlety, complexity, and maturity. Watson moves beyond the tired dogmas of 'old' and 'new' perspectives alike, blending historical, sociological, and theological approaches to offer a richly textured account of Paul and his gospel that significantly advances the discussion even as it provokes important new questions for future research."
— Duke Divinity School
"Here we return to Watson's brilliant suggestion in 1986 that Paul's justification texts and arguments can only be comprehended as they are located in their underlying missiological and sociological dynamics — in particular, in the radical sectarian break made by the apostle's churches away from orthopractic Judaism. Updated, and with links to his other important works explained, the result is vintage Watson — a series of creative if not provocative theses, argued combatively, with enviable clarity, and with impressive learning."