NT Wright’s new 1700 page book on Paul and the Faithfulness of God is out in a few weeks and there is a video of an interesting interview with him by Michael Bird here.

What struck me was the importance Wright gives to the missional nature of the identity and activity of both Paul himself and also the churches he was planting. Here’s the key part of the interview, which begins at around 4 mins 15 seconds:

Paul was doing [his theology] in the service of the mission that he had. He wasn’t an armchair thinker. He was doing this because he believed it was his job. It was his vocation to plant churches (i.e., little communities of Jesus followers) in Caesar’s world, in such a way that they would be communities shaped by this message, by this gospel, by this theology, so that they would be united, so that they would be holy, so that they would be able to take forward the mission of God.

Here’s the blurb from SPCK’s website on the book itself:

We are proud to announce that the highly anticipated fourth volume of the Christian Origins and the Question of God series is currently in production and due for publication in October 2013!

Paul and the Faithfulness of God pays rich tribute to the breadth and depth of the apostle’s vision, and offers an unparalleled wealth of insights into his life, times and lasting impact.

Rowan Williams says:

‘Tom Wright’s long-awaited full-length study of St Paul will not in any way disappoint the high expectations that surround it.  From the very first sentence, it holds the attention, arguing a strong, persuasive, coherent and fresh case, supported by immense scholarship and comprehensive theological intelligence. ’

Paul and the Faithfulness of God will be bound as a 2-volume set and available in both paperback and hardback at £65 and £125 respectively.

Professor Wright has said of the work:

St Paul was highly controversial in his own day, and he remains so, not only for Christians and Jews but in western culture as a whole. In this new two-volume treatment I argue for a particular historical and theological understanding of him. He remains a deeply Jewish thinker, but his vision of the three central Jewish beliefs – one God, one people of God, one future for the world – was reworked around Jesus as the Messiah and around the holy spirit.

David G. Horrell, Professor of New Testament Studies, University of Exeter writes:

Tom Wright’s big book on Paul has long been eagerly awaited. And here it is! Massive in every sense of the word, this is a synthetic, scholarly, and comprehensive analysis of Paul, worked out using the key categories outlined in The New Testament and the People of God, showing how Paul, as a Jew in the Roman Empire, reworked the framework of monotheism, election, and eschatology around Jesus and the Spirit. Written with elegance and humour, full of detailed exegesis and engaging with a very wide range of contemporary scholarship, this major achievement will be a landmark in the field of Pauline studies for many years to come.

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