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Interpreting Paul
HARDCOVER; Coming Soon: 5/20/2021
ISBN: 978-0-8028-2466-0
Price: $ 60.00
624 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6 x 9
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“For me, Paul has always been the most difficult and therefore also most delightful advocate and interpreter of the Lord Jesus Christ and of the human experience of God’s transforming power through Christ. In Paul’s letters above all I have found the quality of mind and the depth of conviction that could arouse in me both excitement and passion. And it is Paul’s letters, above all, that show how important and difficult is life together in the church.”
— from the preface 

With the contextual framework in place from volume one of The Canonical Paul, Luke Timothy Johnson now probes each of the thirteen biblical letters traditionally attributed to the apostle Paul in a way that balances respect for historical integrity with attention to present-day realities. In doing so, Johnson reforges the connection between biblical studies and the life of the church, seeking to establish once again the foundational and generative role that the thirteen letters of Paul have had among Christians for centuries.

Far from being a “definitive theology” of Paul, or an oversimplified synthesis, Interpreting Paul provides glimpses into various moments of Paul’s thinking and teaching that we find in Scripture, modeling how one might read his letters closely for fresh, creative interpretations now and into the future. Approached in this way, both in minute detail and as a whole canon, Paul’s letters yield rich insights, and his voice becomes accessible to all readers of the Bible.

Table of Contents

1. Romans 3:21–26 and the Faith of Jesus
2. The Social Dimensions of Sōtēria in Luke-Acts and Paul
3. The Transformation of Mind and Moral Discernment in Romans
4. Life-Giving Spirit: The Ontological Implications of Resurrection in 1 Corinthians
5. The Body in Question: The Social Complexities of Resurrection in 1 Corinthians
6. Glossolalia and the Embarrassments of Experience
7. God Was in Christ: 2 Corinthians 5:19 and Mythic Language
8. Truth and Reconciliation in 2 Corinthians
9. Ritual Imprinting and the Politics of Perfection
10. The Truth of Christian Experience: The Fourfold Narrative of Galatians 1–4
11. The Expression of Christian Experience: The Imperatives of Galatians 5–6
12. Paul’s Vision of the Church
13. The Rise of Church Order
14. Fellowship in Suffering: The Paradox at the Heart of Paul
15. Mystery and Metaphor in Colossians
16. Doing the Truth in Love: From Eros to Agapē
17. The Church as the Sacrament of the World in Ephesians
18. Discernment, Edification, and Holiness: 1 Thessalonians
19. The Apostle as Crisis Manager: 2 Thessalonians
20. Oikonomia Theou: God’s Way of Ordering Creation in 1 Timothy
21. 1 Timothy 1:1–20: The Shape of the Struggle
22. 2 Timothy and the Polemic against False Teachers: A Re-examination
23. The Pedagogy of Grace: The Experiential Basis for Character Ethics in Titus

Praise for the first volume of The Canonical Paul:
“A landmark study of Paul brimming with sparkling exegetical insights and written in lyrical prose, clear and compelling. Contrarian in the best sense, Constructing Paul offers a way to read Paul that challenges long-held consensus positions by offering fresh, constructive proposals that advance rather than obstruct debate. Vintage Johnson.”
— Carl R. Holladay
Candler School of Theology, Emory University
“This first volume of a magisterial study of the apostle Paul and his theology bears the trademarks of its distinguished author’s many important contributions to New Testament study: confident scholarship, rhetorical verve, and thoughtful positions that buck the trends. Rather than approach the Pauline literature to argue for a particular historical or theological viewpoint or with assumptions about which letters are ‘undisputed’ or lined with interpolations, Luke Timothy Johnson embraces the canonical Pauline corpus of thirteen letters and searches there for the multifaceted and liberating message of the apostle. In his own words, he unapologetically intends to study ‘the canonical Paul as the apostle of the church.’ Good news for those of us who study and teach Paul for the sake of the community of faith.”
— Donald Senior
Catholic Theological Union, Chicago