The Living Paul: An Introduction to the Apostle's Life and Thought, By Anthony C. Thiselton alt

The Living Paul

An Introduction to the Apostle's Life and Thought

by Anthony C. Thiselton

The Living Paul
  • Length: 190 pages
  • Published: September 13, 2011
  • Imprint: IVP Academic
  • Item Code: 6882
  • ISBN: 9780830868827

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The apostle Paul has long had his admirers and revilers. And contemporary Christians often harbor private misgivings about this prominent apostle. Paul sounds harsh, intolerant, misogynistic, and his gospel surely misconstrues the message of Jesus. "How is it," they want to ask, "that some Christians can speak so fondly of Paul?"

Anthony Thiselton is an unabashed admirer of Paul, a student of his letters and a devotee of his gospel. Over a range of issues, Thiselton cleans the lens and sharpens the focus to give us snapshots of Paul's life, mission and thought. Whatever your level of knowledge and experience of Paul, you will find The Living Paul informative and interesting, nuanced and inspiring. A portrait of Paul rendered in the deft strokes of a master.

"Thiselton's richly synthetic yet immensely readable book provides a superb general introduction to St. Paul's life and writings. His masterful treatment of historical contexts and scholarly evaluations includes an unusual sensitivity to the interplay of Pauline criticism with the broader intellectual history of Mediterranean and western tradition, period by period. This culminates in a bracing excursus on the pertinence of postmodernist literary theories to the interpretative tradition of the Pauline corpus which is, by itself, worth the price of the book for a serious student."

David Lyle Jeffrey, Distinguished Professor of Literature and the Humanities, Baylor University

"Drawing upon his lifetime of study, research and teaching about Paul and hermeneutics, Tony Thiselton brings it all together to provide this wide-ranging yet concise introduction to the apostle's life and work, as well as to the main areas of his thought and his theology. Masterful in its scope, it is greatly to be welcomed."

The Rev'd Prof. Richard Burridge, F.K.C., dean of King's College London, and professor of biblical interpretation

"In the hands of a master scholar and teacher, Paul's letters come alive for a wide readership. This is an outstanding, reliable guide to the great apostle's life and thought, the fruit of over 40 years of engagement with the thought of the intellectual giant among the first followers of Jesus."

Graham Stanton, Lady Margaret's Professor of Divinity Emeritus, University of Cambridge

"This relatively slm volume will bear much fruit in the hearts and minds of readers."

Rev. Richard Kew, The Living Church, May 6, 2013

"Almost everything that Thiselton writes makes his readers work, sometimes quite hard. The Living Paul is briefer than many of his books but is no exception. Yet I suspect that if it is properly digested this relatively slim volume will bear much fruit in the hearts and minds of readers, especially if they also happen to be preachers and teachers."

Rev. Richard Kew, The Living Church, May 6, 2012

"For pastors and educated lay people who want to sharpen their thinking and broaden their understanding, this book provides an excellent springboard for further reading, as well as a nuanced introduction to Pauline theology."

Susan Eastman, Interpretation, 66(1)

"Good introductions to Paul's life and theology are always welcome, and this book certainly fits that category."

Donald Senior, Bible Today, July 2010


Preface and Acknowledgments
Timeline of Paul's apostolic ministry

1 A First Obstacle to Appreciating Paul: Paul and Jesus
2 A Second Obstacle to Appreciating Paul: An Immense Cut
3 Apostle to the Gentiles (1) Traveler and Missionary-Pastor
4 Apostle to the Gentiles (2) Traveler, Pastor, Letter Writer
5 Jesus Christ in Paul
6 Paul's View of God and Its Trinitarian Implications
7 Paul's View of the Holy Spirit
8 Paul's View of Humanity
9 Human Alienation and Corrections to Views of Paul on Sin
10 The Work of Christ and Being "In Christ"
11 Justification and the Law
12 Why the Church?
13 The Ministry of the Word
14 Baptism and the Lord's Supper or the Eucharist
15 Paul's Ethics and Views on Christian Lifestyle
16 Cosmic and Human Destiny and the Present Resurrection, Judgment and the Parousia
17 Paul and Postmodernity

Index of biblical and related references
Index of authors
Index of subjects


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Anthony C. Thiselton is emeritus professor of Christian theology at the University of Nottingham and a fellow of the British Academy. His recent publications include Approaching Philosophy of Religion, Discovering Romans, Systematic Theology, The Holy Spirit, and The Last Things.