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Paul: A Very Short Introduction
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Paul: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions #42)

3.47 of 5 stars 3.47  ·  rating details  ·  108 ratings  ·  13 reviews
Missionary, theologian, and religious genius, Paul is one of the most powerful human personalities in the history of the Church. E.P. Sanders, an influential Pauline scholar, analyzes the fundamental beliefs and vigorous contradictions in Paul's thought, discovering a philosophy that is less of a monolithic system than the apostle's convictions would seem to suggest. This ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published June 7th 2001 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1991)
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Justin Evans
I got far more from this than I was expecting, which is both good (inasmuch as I actually think I know something about Paul and interpretations of him) and bad (inasmuch as I wanted a quick weekend read and instead got a crash course in how-to-argue-with-ancient-Christians-who-say-all-Christians-must-be-circumsized). I knew just enough about Paul and the way people understand him to feel that I knew what was going on, but be warned, this is much more academic/rigorous than most VSIs. Sanders is ...more
Nov 09, 2008 Nick rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Nick by: N.T. Wright
Shelves: biblical-studies
While doing research for a paper on Romans 9-11 and sniffing around in the bibliography to What Saint Paul Really Said, which I read this past year for a Pauline literature class, I came across this slim little introduction. E.P. Sanders represents a milestone in the history of the interpretation of Paul, and I believe this book sums up nicely what he does in his larger, more magisterial works. N.T. Wright takes up much of Sanders' thinking for his own presentation. What's addressed here is the ...more
Isiah Velasquez
A Great Synopsis on St. Paul:

This books covers a lot of ground for understanding the Apostle Paul and the milieu that he wrote in. The first three chapters covers St. Paul's life and background, and then the rest of the book covers the fundamentals of Paul's theology.

However, this is not just a super basic book on Paul (as all VSI's go somewhat in-depth into the material). E.P Sanders takes the liberty of employing Greek terminology at times to make his point clear, especially on the chapters co
Did you know that when you're reading the English words "righteous" and "justified" in Paul's letters, it's actually the same word in Greek? It just doesn't make any sense in English to say that we're "righteoused by faith!"

This tiny, dense book explains why grammar is important, why Paul seems to contradict himself in Galatians vs. his writing in Romans, and why Martin Luther may have been wrong about what Paul thought about Law/Gospel. I've never been a fan of Paul, and even my master's level
Ben De Bono
As someone relatively new to (and very much interested in) the New Perspective on Paul, it was great to finally start to dig into E.P. Sanders' work.

I wasn't disappointed. Paul: A Very Short Introduction is deep, accessible and very challenging. One of the major arguments he makes throughout the book is that Paul was not a systematic theologian. He wasn't approaching theology from a philosophic and organized perspective where everything he said needed to line up perfectly. Rather, he was an ad
A short overview of Sanders' understanding of Paul and his theology.

The author does well at contextualizing Paul within first century Judaism, attempting to analyze his theology as an attempt to maintain things which he knows to be true regarding God and Israel while making sense of what has changed on account of Jesus. Primarily discussing only those works of Paul accepted by liberal scholarship he discusses Paul's life and developing theology especially through Romans and Galatians. He seeks t
Daniel Wright
E. P. Sanders is a notable scholar, at the liberal protestant end of the controversial 'New Perspective' on Paul. To this extent, I can't help but criticize OUP for their choice of him to write a general introduction, since he was never going to give a particularly balanced overview - and indeed, he doesn't. Having said that, I'm personally open to the New Perspective, even if I don't take it blindly. Sanders' introduction is fairly helpful of its presentation of the character and thought of Pau ...more
Like other works in this series from Oxford, this is a concise introduction to its subject, in this case the apostle Paul whose life and work to such a great extend directed the spread of what became Christianity beyond the its origins as a small Jewish sect in Palestine.
This little book was indeed informative, and offered many good insights into the life and culture of Paul the Apostle, but it was more academic than I had hoped, and the language and organization was pretty dry. It did make me want to read more about Paul.
Maged Zakher
A great read and a very useful reference.
OK. To be fair, a very uneven series.
Jay D
Decent. Worth reading.
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Ed Parish Sanders is a New Testament scholar, and is one of the principal proponents of the New Perspective on Paul. He has been Arts and Sciences Professor of Religion at Duke University, North Carolina, since 1990. He retired in 2005
More about E.P. Sanders...
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