First of a two-volume work providing a framework for understanding the life and thought of the apostle Paul
In this methodological tour de force, Luke Timothy Johnson offers an articulate, clear, and thought-provoking portrait of the life and thought of the apostle Paul.
Drawing upon recent developments in the study of Paul, Johnson offers readers an invitation to the Apostle Paul. Rather than focusing on a few of Paul’s letters, Johnson lays out the materials necessary to envision the apostle from the thirteen canonical letters of Paul and the Acts of the Apostles. Constructing Paul thus provides a framework within which an engagement with Paul’s letters can take place. Johnson demonstrates the possibility of doing responsible and creative work across the canonical collection without sacrificing literary or historical integrity.
By bringing out the facets of the apostle from the canonical evidence, Johnson shows the possibilities for further and better inquiry into the life and thought of Paul. This first volume imagines a plausible biography for Paul and serves as an introduction to the studies in the second volume. Constructing Paul addresses all the pertinent questions related to the study of Paul. Johnson uses the canonical material as building blocks to make a case for why Paul ought to be heard today as a liberating rather than oppressing voice.
Table of Contents
Part 1: Preliminary Scaffolding
Chapter 1: Assessing Sources
Chapter 2: Paul’s Life and Apostolic Ministry
Chapter 3: The Pauline Correspondence
Chapter 4: Paul’s Place in Early Christianity
Part 2: The Materials
Chapter 5: What Kind of Jew is Paul?
Chapter 6: Paul and Scripture
Chapter 7: Paul and Greco-Roman Culture
Chapter 8: The Claims of Experience
Chapter 9: Convictions, Myths, Symbols, and Metaphors
Chapter 10: Paul’s Voice—Philemon
Chapter 11: Oppressor or Liberator?
“It is clear that [Johnson] finds Paul a liberating writer who offered a compelling story of the life-giving power of God and Jesus.”
Review of Biblical Literature
“Written in a personal, classroom style of unaffected elegant prose, this substantial contribution to Pauline studies represents the work of a good teacher who has something to say about which he feels strongly.”
Religious Studies Review
“Scholars and students alike will benefit from this volume, and if Johnson’s arguments are taken seriously at key points, the Paul of contemporary scholarship will need to be revised to look a little more like the Canonical Paul.”
Joshua W. Jipp in Journal of the Evangelical Theological
“Luke Timothy Johnson is one of the most creative voices within biblical scholarship. As a result, whether he is challenging the consensus on Pauline authorship, emphasizing the significance of Paul’s experience of the risen Jesus, or simply engaging Paul at a deeply existential level, Johnson’s book is not your typical Pauline theology or introduction to Paul. Reading books like this will force even mature scholars to give more careful attention to what they think they know about Paul; for intermediate and advanced students, the introduction provides the necessary groundwork for more detailed interpretations and readings of Paul’s letters.”