I don't think I've done any book reviews this year. While I am behind on my reading goals for the year (25 books finished so far), I have read some good ones and some not so good. This year, however, I have discovered a real gem in N. T. Wright and I have read two of his books so far, with one more sitting on my desk.
Wright is the Bishop of Durham, England and is the author of 30 book. He has taught New Testament studies for 20 years at Cambridge, McGill and Oxford Universities. I am currently re-reading the book I want to review for you and that is Wright's latest book entitled Paul: In Fresh Perspective. I chose this book since I will be leading a cruise retracing the steps of Paul this coming October and I am already preparing for my times of teaching onboard.
Wright does indeed give what he promised: a fresh perspective on Paul and his teaching. He points out that there already was a gospel in Paul's day and the supposed good news was that Caesar was Lord. Of course Paul presented his case that Jesus is Lord based on the power of a resurrected life. Paul also redefined the people of God, retelling the Abraham, exodus, exile and restoration stories in light of the work of the cross. And finally, Wright describes the impact of Jesus and the gospel on the kingdom of God, something that every God Jew longed to see restored. At one point, I was so moved by Wright's clarity and insight into the church as the people of God that I wanted to jump up and run around the room!
This book only made me appreciate Paul all the more, understanding still further how far he broke away from Judaism while still drawing from it for his teaching and work. Paul saw himself as a prophet in the tradition of those mentioned in the Old Testament and he delivered his message to the Roman world and Jewish community with courage and clarity.
If you're looking for a good book on Paul, look no further. You can click on the title above and order your own copy. This is a book I highly recommend.