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While not a book most novices would choose, this and Wright's other works on Paul offer compelling reading and study of this surprisingly misunderstood time period of the 1st century whcn Paul lived and wrote.
His ability to clarify through solid historical scholarship the meanings
of words and place people solidly within the prevailing world view of
second temple Judaism takes the confusion over so much of Paul's work
resulting in what Wright calls the "Aha!" momenents when things'suddently
fall into place with no missing pieces or verses that don't seem
to fit. People who have read Wright and are willing to consider
that in fact, God did have a plan that stretched back to Abraham that was fulfilled at the resurrection, are blessed to find that they cannot stop reading Wrights prolific works. I fully recommend this and any other works by Tom Wright. I have read 6 or 7 in less than 2 months and my life has become a joyful habitat.