Saturday, July 7, 2007

Textbook: Gormans' Apostle of the Crucified Lord

If you are interested in Pauline theology, you might want to check out Michael J. Gorman's Apostle of the Crucified Lord: A Theological Introduction to Paul and His Letters (Eerdmans 2004). Gorman's approach is fresh and innovative.   He knows primary and secondary literature well and his arguments are persuasive.  I have used Michael's book in several courses with undergraduate and graduate courses.  Pay particular attention to his cruciformity theme.  I think he's on to something.

You should also be familiar with Jimmy Dunn's The Theology of Paul the Apostle (Eerdmans 1998). I like the book a great deal and have used it on several occasions for courses. Some find his book too Romans-centered and disagree with key aspects of his understanding of the new perspective. I recommend it for any serious study of the apostle.

As you study any book on Paul or anything other topic for that matter, I recommend you engage in active reading. That means several things. (1) Read when your mind is sharp. For each of us that may be a different time. Don't pick it up when you are exhausted. You won't remember much. (2) You may want to get a highlighter and underline key ideas as you encounter them. (3) Keep a mechanical pencil close by. That way you can pencil in questions, insights or key ideas as they occur to you. (4) Read with an open Bible. Gorman will talk about certain texts. Well, read those texts for yourself before you get Gorman's take on them. He is a world class expert on Paul, but not infallible. When you have a disagreement, state it. But wait! Don't just disagree, give a reasoned explanation of why you disagree. Finally, and most importantly, (5) Read as an act of worship. If God has called you to this task, and if you take it up, then do it will all your strength. Read Colossians 3:23: "Whatever you do, do heartily as to the Lord and not as to men." Don't read for me, for you, for anyone else. Let your reading, research, study be an act of worship to Almighty God who made your mind and called you to this task.

david capes

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