Archives For St. Paul


522571: Paul Among the People: The Apostle Reinterpreted and Reimagined in His Own Time

A Review of

Paul Among the People:
The Apostle Reinterpreted
and Reimagined in His Own Time

By Sarah Ruden
Now Available in Paperback: Image, 2011.
Buy now:
[ ]
[ Amazon – Kindle ]

Reviewed by David Anderson.

Paul is one of those writers—and personalities, as we catch glimpses of his own in the epistles and in Acts—that people either love or dislike without much middle ground. But he was a man of his time, just as the Old Testament prophets were men of their time. To understand “where they were coming from,” a reader needs to own at least a basic familiarity with the culture they lived in.

Sarah Ruden’s earlier books are translations of some of the classics of ancient literature: the Aeneid, Lysistrata, and Satyricon. In this short study (a little under 200 pages not counting backmatter) she looks at Paul’s writings on various topics in the light of how these compare to accounts by Greek and Roman authors. For a slightly similar, albeit more scholarly, effort that places more emphasis on contemporaneous historical events (the emperor Claudius’ expulsion of the Jews from Rome, Nero’s early actions as emperor), Neil Elliott’s Arrogance of Nations (Fortress, 2010 reprint ed.) can be highly recommended.

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In keeping with the theme of this week’s issue, empire, here’s an excerpt from the essential book:

Colossians Remixed: Subverting the Empire.
Brian Walsh and Sylvia Keesmaat.
Paperback:  IVP Books, 2004.
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“That Most Reluctant of Critical Theorists

A review of
Paul, Philosophy, and the Theopolitical Vision.
Douglas Harink, editor.

Reviewed by Matthew Kaul.

Paul, Philosophy, and the Theopolitical Vision.
Douglas Harink, editor.

Paperback: Cascade Books, 2010.
Buy now: [ Wipf and Stock ]

Paul, Philosophy and the Theopolitical Vision - Harink, ed.As with the last volume I reviewed on this subject, Saint Paul among the Philosophers, this volume is a compilation of essays originally given as talks at a conference. As with any compilation of conference papers, the challenge the editor of this volume faces lies in covering the greatest possible breadth of material from the conference while at the same time maintaining some sort of coherent, logical organization, some sense of the book as a coherent whole rather than a series of only tangentially related chapters.

Unfortunately, too frequently the price of coherence is repetition: essays cover the same ground in setting up and making their arguments, seemingly unaware that other chapters have already done their work for them. This volume does not entirely escape that difficulty; at the end of the book, the reader will have read enough paraphrases of Agamben and Badiou to make her feel right at home in an English department grad student lounge or an emerging church pub-and-theology night. Nevertheless, the volume is in many ways a great success, particular in opening up suggestive new insights into how theology and philosophy might more fruitfully interact regarding that most reluctant of critical theorists, the apostle Paul.

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“Discerning the Cruciform Wisdom of Christ… Together”

A review of

The Drama of Ephesians:
Participating in the Triumph of God
By Timothy Gombis.

Reviewed by Chris Smith.

The Drama of Ephesians:
Participating in the Triumph of God
Timothy Gombis.

Paperback: IVP Academic, 2010.
Buy now: [ ]

[ Read an excerpt from this book here… ]

Of all the books of the Bible, the one that has been most formative for us as a congregation here at Englewood Christian Church has undoubtedly been Ephesians. Early on in our Sunday night conversation, we spent several years pushing forward verse-by-verse, phrase-by-phrase through the text, and never did make it all the way through.  Recently, we have again returned to Ephesians 3, and spent several weeks re-examining that text as part of a larger exploration of the scriptural account of God’s mission in the world.  With that recent revisiting of the Ephesians text, it was particularly timely that I picked up Timothy Gombis’s delightful new book on this New Testament epistle, The Drama of Ephesians: Participating in the Triumph of God.  Gombis emphasizes at the outset of the book that it is neither commentary nor an assortment of reflections, but rather “a cultural and theological engagement with the text of Ephesians” (10).  This approach, resonates with our own explorations of the text, engaging it as we do, trying to discern as a community what God is doing in the world and therefore what we should be about as a people who are seeking to follow God in the way of Christ.  Discernment is a key word in Gombis’s reading of Ephesians, as a defining characteristic of the Church in the age between the death/resurrection of Christ and the return of Christ, when all things will be consummated.  Early on in the book, he says:

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Here’s an excerpt from

The Drama of Ephesians: Participating in the Triumph of God
Timothy  Gombis.
Paperback: IVP Academic, 2010.
Buy now: [ ]


***NOTE***: Our next issue will be released on
Monday June 14, and not Friday June 11.

We’re Giving Away Over $250 of Free books This Summer!!!

Summer is right around the corner, the perfect time to catch up on reading some great books.  And we here at the ERB want to jump start your summer reading by giving you five books (of your choice)!

Invite your friends (or yourself) to a FREE email subscription to The Englewood Review, and you and any friends who activate their subscription will be entered to win five free books from the list at the bottom of this page [You may need to click the “Read the rest of this entry…” link] !

The books we are giving away are titles that we have reviewed over the last few years, or ones that slipped through the cracks and never got reviewed.

On June 15, we will pick 5 winners.  The first name drawn will get to choose 5 books, the 2nd person drawn will get to choose 5 from the remaining books and so on through the 5th place winner, who will get to pick 5 titles from the remaining 11.


In our continuing effort to fund the publication and free distribution of The Englewood Review, we are going to be collaborating more intentionally with Christian Book Distributors. Primarily, we will be offering you the opportunity to buy bargain books from CBD that we think of are interest. Buying books this way is a win / win / win proposition. You get great books for a great price, CBD gets the sale and we get an excellent referral fee from CBD.

This week’s bargain books on the theme
St. Paul (Click to learn more/purchase):

432118: We Preach Not Ourselves: Paul on Proclamation We Preach Not Ourselves: Paul on Proclamation

By Michael P. Knowles / Brazos Press

$2.99 – Save 89%!!!

Holding up Paul as a model for contemporary pastors and seminarians, Knowles sheds light on the apostle’s theology of preaching in this careful examination of 2 Corinthians 1:1–6:13. Paul’s hallmark themes of Christ crucified and resurrected reflected his own cross-centered vision; informed and shaped his message; and led to the spiritual transformation of his hearers.

24531: Either Gentile or Jew: Paul"s Unfolding Theology of Inclusivity Either Gentile or Jew: Paul’s Unfolding Theology of Inclusivity

By Eung Chun Park / Westminster John Knox Press

$2.99 – Save 90%!!!

In this book, Eung Chun Park reconstructs a focused and coherent narrative of the last two decades of the life of Paul as it revolved around gentile mission. The result is a detailed and thorough analysis of the Pauline letters that shows how Paul’s theology changed over the course of his life as a result of his struggle to defend his gospel against those who advocated a different kind of gospel.The book traces the stories of the two gospels in early Christianity in Paul’s time (i.e., the gospel of the circumcision and the gospel of the uncircumcision) as they unfolded through such landmark events as the Apostolic Council in Jerusalem, the Antioch Incident, the Galatian Incident, the Corinthian Incident, and Paul’s last visit to Jerusalem.

2234X: Paul and the Stoics Paul and the Stoics

By Troels Engberg-Pedersen / Westminster John Knox Press

$4.99 – Save 88% !!!

(PUBWestminster/John Knox)The most in-depth treatment of this topic ever done! Going through Paul’s major epistles, Engberg-Pedersen makes clear how much Paul was indebted to Stoic philosophy both for his theology and his ethics. The bold, original research has all the markings of a landmark publication. 448 pages, softcover.

5101X: The Heavenly Trumpet: John Chrysostom and the Art of Pauline Interpretation The Heavenly Trumpet: John Chrysostom and the Art of Pauline Interpretation

By Margaret M. Mitchell / Westminster John Knox Press

$4.99 – Save 89% !!!

Arguing that all Pauline interpretation depends significantly upon the ways in which readers formulate their own images of the apostle, Margaret M. Mitchell posits that John Chrysostom, the most profilic interpreter of the Pauline epistles in the early church, exemplifies this phenomenon. Mitchell brings together Chrysostom’s copious portraits of Paul – of his body, his soul, and his life circumstances – and for the first time analyzes them as complex rhetorical compositions built open well-known conventions of Greco-Roman rhetoric. Two appendixes offer a fresh translation of Chrysostom’s seven homilies de laudibus sancti Pauli and a catalog of color plates of artistic representation that graphically represent the author/exegete dynamic this study explores.


A Brief Review of

St. Paul among the Philosophers.
Ed. John D. Caputo and Linda Martín Alcoff
Paperback: Indiana University Press, 2009.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

Reviewed by Matthew Kaul.

The problem of Paul’s relationship to the Christian tradition is long-standing that has generated particular attention recently with the rise of the so-called “New Perspective on Paul” and the debates this movement has generated. Most notable, perhaps, has been the interchange between Anglican scholar and bishop N.T. Wright and neo-Reformed pastor John Piper. To simplify matters greatly, should Paul be understood as a Jewish theologian who intended not to found a new religion but rather to incorporate Gentiles into Judaism? Or is Paul rather a founder, whose thought represents a break from the Jewish identity in which it was formed, and who provided a theological structure around which the event of Christ’s death and resurrection could be understood?

These questions represent the core of the contemporary discussion, and they have been taken up by philosophers and historians, including many who have no involvement or interest in institutional Christianity. Saint Paul among the Philosophers, a collection of papers first given at a 2005 Syracuse University conference, brings together many of these thinkers for a discussion of Paul’s legacy and the value of his thought today. The value of the collection lies primarily in its clear outlining of the stakes of the debates surrounding Paul, more than any particular solutions its confluence of scholars offer.

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