Paul and His Recent Interpreters: Review

The superlative endorsements on the back cover are hardly an exaggeration. N. T. Wright’s survey of some of the recent history of Pauline scholarship constitutes a remarkable achievement in its penetrating analysis and generative potential to forge a new synthesis in understanding Paul and his theology. One need not agree with all or even most of Wright’s own conclusions to derive substantial benefit from this work. In fact, the book is not even primarily about Wright’s own version of the “new perspective on Paul.” Instead, Wright provides a far-ranging, selective, and judicious treatment of some of the most seminal thinkers in Pauline theology over the past century. The present work started out as a prolegomenon to Wright’s massive volume, Paul and the Faithfulness of God, but Wright quickly realized that this history of Pauline scholarship deserved to be separated out from his already very large volume – a judicious move. It is hard to think of a better map to the Pauline landscape than this book. In fact, it may be best to read Paul and His Recent Interpreters before reading Paul and the Faithfulness of God.