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The Theology of Paul the Apostle Perfect Paperback – May 17, 2006

4.2 out of 5 stars 56 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Christianity TodayNumber 10 on the Top 25 Books of the Year list (1905)

Revue Biblique
"A synthesis of great power and beauty. Every page betrays the excitement of dialoguing with Paul. . . In the creativity of its approach, the elegance of its prose, and the passion of its conviction that Paul has much to say to the modern church, it sets a new standard against which all competitors will be judged."

Theology Today
"Dunn does what few since Bultmann have dared to attempt, that is, to provide a full-scale, in-depth exposition of the apostle's theology. While others have been intimidated, he boldly moves forward, with appropriate modesty and grace. . . It is clear that he has made a significant contribution to Pauline studies."

Journal for the Study of the New Testament
"The work is thorough, readable, and well-informed. Among its virtues are its impressive breadth of coverage, its wealth of citation of primary literature, and its judicious interaction with secondary literature."

Religious Studies Review
"Will no doubt function as the definitive book on Paul's theology for some time to come."

Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
"No scholar since Ridderbos has tackled the apostle's theology as a whole. James Dunn has now risen to the challenge, producing a theology of Paul that will serve as a benchmark for the next generation of students and scholars."

Catholic Biblical Quarterly
"Dunn is ever provocative. . . It is hard to imagine a scholar in the English-speaking world better equipped to compose a theology of Paul. . . He brings to the task not only comprehensive knowledge of Paul, but also an encyclopedic grasp of the secondary literature and the flow of Pauline studies."

Theological Studies
"This book is the culmination of years of thought and study on Paul, and the results are worthy of those years."

Graham N. Stanton
— King's College, London
"Surely this is James Dunn's best book so far. His magisterial, lucid exposition of Paul's thought will be welcomed warmly by scholars, teachers, and students alike. This is a work of outstanding scholarship: there is no comparable book in English."

Paul J. Achtemeier
— Union Theological Seminary in Virginia
"This book is a serious attempt by a widely informed and careful scholar to point the way to finding in Paul's theology an integrated whole, using Romans as the road map for the journey. Using the 'new perspective' on Paul to look in a fresh way at the dichotomy between faith and works of the law, and finding in the apocalyptic notion of 'already/not yet' a key concept, Dunn proposes a way of approaching Paul's theological thought that enables him to find not only theological coherence but also ethical integration. Any such attempt is bound to provoke discussion both pro and con, but it is an attempt that all who are interested in Paul's theological thought will have to take seriously. Truly 'must-reading.'' "

C. F. D. Moule
"An exceptionally fine presentation of Pauline theology — detailed yet clear, lavishly documented yet readable: a major contribution to clarification and order in this confused and controversial field of study."

D. Eduard Lohse
— University of Göttingen
"This careful exposition of the theology of Paul is a brilliant piece of biblical scholarship. In due respect to the broad international discussion, James D. G. Dunn opens new insights into Paul's way of interpreting the early Christian message. In demonstrating that the center of Paul's theology is to be found in his proclamation of the death and resurrection of Christ, Dunn explains how the Apostle at the same time remained always aware of his Jewish heritage. This book will be welcomed by all theologians for a deeper interpretation of what Paul has to say in his time as well as today.' "

From the Back Cover

In this major work, James D. G. Dunn brings together more than two decades of vigorous and creative work on interpreting the letters of Paul into an integrated, full-scale study of Paul's thought.

Using Paul's letter to the Romans as the foundation for constructing a fuller exposition of Paul's whole theology, Dunn's thematic treatment clearly describes Paul's teaching on such topics as God, humankind, sin, christology, salvation, the church, and the Christian life. In the process Dunn engages in a concise way what other important scholars have said regarding each area of inquiry.

"The Theology of Paul the Apostle" represents a major contribution to the ongoing discussion regarding what Paul's theology is and what its continuing relevance is to the study and practice of religion and theology.

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Product Details

  • Perfect Paperback: 844 pages
  • Publisher: Eerdmans (May 17, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802844235
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802844231
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #254,716 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful summary of Paul's theology written by a prominent New Testament scholar. I have been waiting for a recent book on Paul's theology that combines solid content with readability and clarity. I finally found it in this book! Dunn embraces the "new perspective" on Pauline studies on the gospel and the law. Nevertheless, a traditionalist would still find Dunn's views thought-provoking. I also like this book because it is so user-friendly and well-organized. Dunn organizes each chapter by topics (e.g. "God and humankind," "the gospel of Christ," " the process of salvation," etc.) and it is easy to follow. I highly recommend this book to layreaders, serious students, and scholars alike. It is a must for those who wish to read and understand more about Pauline theology!
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By Robert Jackson on February 19, 2007
Format: Perfect Paperback Verified Purchase
The depth of scholarship in this work is stunning - Dunn is a master of his field. But the true value of this work lies in its closeness to the text - it will have you diving for Paul's letters again and again. His systematic approach is well conceived and structured; he is careful never to over-conclude or run ahead with an argument: this work is clearly the product of careful laboring over the texts, with secondary sources used purely as aids, not drivers of discussion.

From the start his insights are profound, such as his observation that for Paul, 'sarx' (flesh) is very much an ethnic designation, and it is never directly blamed as a source for sin in Romans 7. The book leaves room for as much agreement or disagreement as you care to share - merely engaging with Dunn's arguments and analysis is the most rewarding exercise for truly encountering Paul that I have ever come across. I have never come across a book so erudite at reading between the lines of Paul, and investigating his unstated assumptions about God and humanity.

Take up this magisterial work - but keep your Bible, and preferably a notebook, close at hand: this is no mere rehearsal of the standard debates about Paul, but an earnest and scholarly attempt to make sense of a grand tapestry - an attempt which respects the fact that Paul wrote with a genius that has stupefied two millenia of great minds.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I think this is a truly exceptional work, from which I have gathered many valuable insights. I feel that it has been a valuable addition to my collection and well worth the money. Dunn presents a scholarly, detailed (and theologically unbiased) study into the writings of Paul.

He is able to tie up a lot of "loose ends", and make many theological connections which might be elusive to the average bible-reader (like me), revealing what he sees as a stable foundation of Paul's theology. It is well organized and annotated, making for easy topical study.

Just note that this is not an orthodox Christian book, although Dunn always treats the Scriptures and the subject matter with a great deal of care and respect.
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Format: Hardcover
Jim Cannon has captured the very essence of the great Apostle Paul. Faithful to what is known Biblically about Paul, Cannon provides a brilliant history of his life and work. Historically accurate, Cannon has researched the life and times of the era with amazing journalistic talent. In the fictional creativity this book reflects a reality that certainly could have been, and the reader is carried along with intensity in this powerful and moving story. Having read Taylor Caldwell, Walter Wangerman, F.F. Bruce and many other fine authors who have written both theologically and fictionally about Paul, this account of Paul is one of a kind and will stand the test of decades to come. Don't miss it if you want to get a fresh grasp on the world of the first century, New Testament theology, and the story of a man who changed the Western world.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful summary of Paul's theology from a prominent New Testament scholar on Pauline studies. I've always wanted a recent work on Paul's theology that combines detailed, informative content with clarity. I have found it in this book. It packs a lot of information and yet it is clearly written and understandable for the lay reader, seminary student, and scholar alike.
Incidentally, Dunn embraces the "new perspective" on Paul and the Law. However, a traditionalist in Pauline studies will find Dunn's views thought-provoking.
I also liked this book because it is very user-friendly. The chapters are organized by topics ("Prologue," "God and Humankind" "The Gospel of Jesus Christ" " The Process of Salvation" etc.) and it is very easy to follow. The reader will also be impressed with the extensive bibliography that Dunn includes at the very beginning. For any student and reader who desires to understand Paul's theology, this book by Dunn is a must! I highly recommend it.
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Format: Hardcover
James Cannon transforms the few bits of historical information we have about Paul into an engaging fictional account of the Apostle's life and times. Instead of being a stained-glass saint, the Paul of this story is convincing for his human characteristics of ambition, vanity, and jealousy. Apostle Paul is a well-written, fast-moving dramatization that explains Christianity's most important thinker and actor.
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