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The Theology of Paul the Apostle


Using Paul's letter to the Romans as the foundation for his monumental study of Paul's theology, James D. G. Dunn describes Paul's teaching on God, sin, humankind, Christology, salvation, the church, and the nature of the Christian life.
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Using Paul's letter to the Romans as the foundation for his monumental study of Paul's theology, James D. G. Dunn describes Paul's teaching on God, sin, humankind, Christology, salvation, the church, and the nature of the Christian life.
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Editorial Reviews

"The execution of the project is "vintage Dunn"—clear, detailed, well informed, logically presented and persuasively argued."
Calvin Theological Journal
This work is clearly a magnum opus, not merely in its size (over 800 pages), but for its importance for Pauline scholarship and the current debates raging in that field. Dunn has been at work in Pauline scholarship for nearly forty years. He has produced a significant number of books and articles..... Now comes this work, pulling together and integrating the years of scholarly work and reflection on Paul. Pauline studies henceforth will have to take account of this work—it could even become a definitive work in the field.... This is an insightful and provocative work. It is worthy of careful and thorough study—and then of constant consultation in further work on Paul and his theology.
"A comprehensive, systematic, and historically sensitive presentation of the theology of the apostle Paul, using his epistle to the Romans as the organizing basis. The result is easily the best treatment in English of Paul's wide-ranging and highly influential Christian theology.... Interacting with a remarkably wide range of scholarly literature on Paul, Dunn treats Paul's theology not as a mere historical artifact, but rather as an original perspective on some of the fundamental questions about reality and human existence.... Highly recommended for all collections supporting theology, religion, or history."
Currents in Theology & Mission
"What a marvelous book this is!... A magnum opus on the theology of the apostle Paul.... For the scholar there are innumerable bibliographical references. For the pastor the volume is a rich resource for teaching and preaching based on the writings of the Apostle Paul."
Religious Studies Review
Dunn has pulled together the results of over twenty years' worth of research and writing on Paul's letters into an integrated, in-depth, and insightful study of the apostle's theology.... Since the publication over two decades ago of E. P. Sanders' Paul and Palestinian Judaism.... There has been a great need for a fresh, comprehensive treatment of the apostle's theology. This book, Dunn's magnum opus, has more than adequately met this need and will no doubt function as the definitive book on Paul's theology for some time to come.
The Bible Today
This massive study by a superb scholar is likely to remain a classic resource on Paul's theology for many years to come.... Dunn provides the reader with what could best be described as a one-volume encyclopedia or theological dictionary of Paul's thought.... The text itself is clearly and succinctly written, further enhancing the value of this work for students and specialists.
A comprehensive theology of Paul that should instantly take its place as the best available in the literature.
Theological Studies
"Dunn is one of the most influential and prolific commentators on Paul....This book is the culmination of years of thought and study on Paul, and the results are worthy of those years.... The book as a whole is a remarkable achievement. It is, first of all, very accessible. Although there are lengthy bibliographies at the beginning of each section and copious footnotes, the text itself is not a dialogue with secondary literature but a dialogue with Paul and his letters. Dunn admirably keeps his focus throughout the book. This means that theologians and educated lay people, in addition to biblical scholars, can read this book with great profit but without being exhausted by it....He engages in a real dialogue with Paul over issues which are of importance not only for the first century but also for our own. That interest in Paul gives the book immediacy and a liveliness which consistently engages the reader.... Dunn's has given us probably the best theology of Paul since Bultmann's treatment in his Theology of the New Testament."
Theology Today
"James D. G. Dunn is no stranger to those who follow biblical studies. His two-volume commentary on Romans, his two books on Galatians, plus countless seminal articles over the past three decades have marked him as one of the foremost interpreters of Paul's letters in this generation. Now comes this massive volume, in which 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. Where others have been intimidated, he boldly moved forward, with appropriate modesty and grace.... Dunn's impressive. He is a careful reader of texts, and though he may have been tempted to refer the reader to interpretations previously presented in his commentaries, he regularly resists the urge and provides strong exegetical warrants to support the case he is making..... It is clear that Dunn has made a significant contribution to Pauline studies."
Trinity Journal
"A detailed and fascinating work on Paul's theology.... No one who is interested in Pauline theology can afford to bypass this major and provocative work.... As always, Dunn writes in an inviting and interesting way. His freshness and clarity make the work a joy to read.... An excellent Pauline theology.... It will have a long history, precisely because Dunn takes Paul seriously as an apostle, a theologian, a missionary, and a pastor."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802844231
  • Publisher: Eerdmans, William B. Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 6/28/2006
  • Pages: 808
  • Sales rank: 495,515
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.90 (d)

Meet the Author

James Dunn is Professor Emeritus Lightfoot Professor of Theology at the University of Durham

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Prologue
1 Prolegomena to a theology of Paul 1
1.1 Why a theology of Paul? 2
1.2 What is a "theology of Paul"? 6
1.3 Can a theology of Paul be written? 13
1.4 How to write a theology of Paul? 19
1.5 Toward a theology of Paul 23
Chapter 2 God and Humankind 27
2 God 27
2.1 God as axiom 28
2.2 God as one 31
2.3 Other gods? 33
2.4 God and the cosmos 38
2.5 The God of Israel 43
2.6 God in experience 46
2.7 Conclusion 49
3 Humankind 51
3.1 Anthropological presuppositions 51
3.2 Soma 55
3.3 Sarx 62
3.4 Soma and sarx 70
3.5 Nous and kardia 73
3.6 Psyche and Pneuma 76
3.7 Summary 78
Chapter 3 Humankind under Indictment 79
4 Adam 79
4.1 The dark side of humanity 79
4.2 Adam in Jewish scripture 82
4.3 Adam in post-biblical Jewish tradition 84
4.4-9 Adam in Paul's theology
4.4 Romans 1.18-32 91
4.5 Romans 3.23 93
4.6 Romans 5.12-21 94
4.7 Romans 7.7-13 98
4.8 Romans 8.19-22 100
4.9 Summary 101
5 Sin and death 102
5.1 The power of evil 102
5.2 The heavenly powers 104
5.3 Sin 111
5.4 The effects of sin - misdirected religion 114
5.5 The effects of sin - self-indulgence 119
5.6 The effects of sin - sins 123
5.7 Death 124
5.8 In sum 127
6 The law 128
6.1 Sin, death, and the law 129
6.2 Torah, nomos, and ho nomos 131
6.3 The measure of God's requirement and judgment 133
6.4 Israel under the law 137
6.5 A relationship whose time is past 143
6.6 A law for life? - or death? 150
6.7 Is the law sin? 155
6.8 Conclusions 159
Chapter 4 The Gospel of Jesus Christ 163
7 Gospel 163
7.1 Euangelion 164
7.2 "In accordance with the scriptures" 169
7.3 Kerygmatic and confessional formulae 174
7.4 The apocalypse of Jesus Christ 177
7.5 The eschatological now 179
8 Jesus the man 182
8.1 How much did Paul know or care about the life of Jesus? 183
8.2 Some a priori considerations 185
8.3 Echoes of Jesus tradition in Paul 189
8.4 Jesus 196
8.5 Messiah 197
8.6 Adam 199
8.7 The incarnate Son? 204
8.8 Conclusion 206
9 Christ crucified 207
9.1 As one died 208
9.2 A sacrifice for sins 212
9.3 Paul's theology of atoning sacrifice 218
9.4 The beloved Son 224
9.5 The curse of the law 225
9.6 Redemption 227
9.7 Reconciliation 228
9.8 Conquest of the powers 230
9.9 Conclusions 231
10 The risen Lord 234
10.1 The resurrection of the crucified 235
10.2 The last Adam 241
10.3 Son of God in power 242
10.4 The Lord 244
10.5 Jesus as God? 252
10.6 The life-giving Spirit 260
10.7 Conclusions 265
11 The pre-existent one 266
11.1 Divine Wisdom 267
11.2 Jesus as Wisdom 272
11.3 Other possible Wisdom passages 277
11.4 Philippians 2.6-11 281
11.5 Other possible pre-existent Adam passages 288
11.6 Conclusions 292
12 Until he comes 294
12.1 The coming (parousia) of Christ 294
12.2 The parousia hope in the Thessalonian letters 298
12.3 Christ's role in the end events in the later letters 305
12.4 The delay of the parousia 310
12.5 Conclusions 313
Chapter 5 The Beginning of Salvation 317
13 The crucial transition 317
13.1 A new epoch 317
13.2 Grace as event 319
13.3 The new beginning 323
13.4 Metaphors of salvation 328
14 Justification by faith 334
14.1 A new perspective on Paul 335
14.2 The righteousness of God 340
14.3 The impact of Paul's conversion 346
14.4 Works of the law in Judaism 354
14.5 Not of works 359
14.6 Self-achieved righteousness? 366
14.7 By faith alone 371
14.8 Faith in Christ 379
14.9 The blessings of justification 385
15 Participation in Christ 390
15.1 Christ mysticism 390
15.2 "In Christ," "in the Lord" 396
15.3 "With Christ" 401
15.4 Complementary formulations 404
15.5 The corporate Christ 408
15.6 The consequences of participation in Christ 410
16 The gift of the Spirit 413
16.1 The third aspect 414
16.2 The eschatological Spirit 416
16.3 Receiving the Spirit 419
16.4 The experience of the Spirit 426
16.5 The blessings of the Spirit 434
16.6 Conclusion 440
17 Baptism 442
17.1 The traditional view 442
17.2 Exegetical issues 447
17.3 An ordo salutis? 455
17.4 Infant baptism 457
Chapter 6 The Process of Salvation 461
18 The eschatological tension 461
18.1 Between the times 461
18.2 Already-not yet 466
18.3 The divided "I" 472
18.4 Flesh and Spirit 477
18.5 Sharing Christ's sufferings 482
18.6 The process completed 487
18.7 Conclusions and corollaries 493
19 Israel 499
19.1 Has God's word failed (9.1-5)? 500
19.2 Who is Israel (9.6)? 504
19.3 The character of Israel's election (9.7-29) 509
19.4 Israel's misunderstanding of its call (9.30-10.21) 514
19.5 Israel not abandoned (11.1-24) 519
19.6 All Israel shall be saved (11.25-36) 526
19.7 The final goal (15.7-13) 529
19.8 Conclusions 531
Chapter 7 The Church 533
20 The body of Christ 533
20.1 Redefining corporate identity 534
20.2 The church of God 537
20.3 Community without cult 543
20.4 The body of Christ 548
20.5 Charismatic community 552
20.6 The shared experience of the church 561
20.7 An unrealistic vision? 562
21 Ministry and authority 565
21.1 Charism and office 566
21.2 Paul's apostolic authority 571
21.3 The other regular ministries 580
21.4 The ministry and authority of women 586
21.5 The authority of the congregation 593
21.6 Discerning the spirits 594
21.7 Conclusion 598
22 The Lord's Supper 599
22.1 The problem in assessing Paul's theology of the Lord's Supper 600
22.2 Influence from other religions? 601
22.3 The origin of the sacrament 606
22.4 The situation in Corinth 609
22.5 Paul's theology of the Lord's Supper: spiritual food 613
22.6 Paul's theology of the Lord's Supper: sharing in the one body 615
22.7 Paul's theology of the Lord's Supper: christology 620
Chapter 8 How Should Believers Live? 625
23 Motivating principles 625
23.1 Indicative and imperative 626
23.2 Once more, the law 631
23.3 Faith and "the law of faith" 634
23.4 Spirit and "the law of the Spirit" 642
23.5 Christ and "the law of Christ" 649
23.6 Liberty and love 658
23.7 Traditional wisdom 661
23.8 Conclusions 668
24 Ethics in practice 670
24.1 The social context 672
24.2 Living within a hostile world - Rom. 12.9-13.14 674
24.3 Living with fundamental disagreements - Rom. 14.1-15.6 680
24.4 Living between two worlds: sexual conduct (1 Corinthians 5-6) 689
24.5 Living between two worlds: marriage and divorce (1 Corinthians 7) 692
24.6 Living between two worlds: slavery (1 Cor. 7.20-23) 698
24.7 Living between two worlds: social relations (1 Corinthians 8-10) 701
24.8 The collection 706
24.9 Conclusion 711
Chapter 9 Epilogue 713
25 Postlegomena to a theology of Paul 713
25.1 Paul's theology as dialogue 713
25.2 The stable foundation of Paul's theology 716
25.3 The fulcrum point of Paul's theology 722
25.4 Centre and development 729
25.5 Other innovative and lasting features 733
Index of Subjects 739
Index of Modern Authors 745
Index of Scripture and Other Ancient Writings 759
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