Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Deliverance of God – Doug Campbell’s new tome on justification in Paul

I reviewed Campbell's earlier book, The Quest for Paul's Gospel, here and the esteemed author was kind enough to engage my critiques in the comments section. In retrospect I wish I had pushed home the points I made in the post rather than raise different, and less cogent, matters in the subsequent discussion. But that is in the past.

In the past because Campbell's new tome, The Deliverance of God: An Apocalyptic Rereading of Justification in Paul (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2009), is now the definitive statement of his proposals, and in my opinion they are formulated in a far more convincing and penetrating fashion that in The Quest.

Not having finished the book yet I cannot write my final judgments, but his critique of Justification Theory (also summarised in The Quest) is quite breathtaking, and his analysis of the significance of Sander's and co is genius.

This is truly a groundbreaking and important book. I don't think I will ever read Paul the same way.

But to work through this book from beginning to end will require scheduling – it is over 1,000 pages. But it is deliciously provocative, a joy to read, filled with all manner of 'aha!' moments with many clever (nay, brilliant) twists. Of course, I may wish to tone down my enthusiasm as I read on, but I just had to say something now – cos it has me excited!

By the way, there is no foreword by Tom Wright, as in the book graphic on the Eerdmans site. I have read speculation (i.e. it may be untrue) that Wright agreed to write the foreword, but withdrew having realised the depth of his disagreement with Campbell's thesis. Wright does provide, at least, blurb on the back cover.


At 10/05/2009 8:55 PM, Anonymous andrewbourne said...

Chris for those who wish to read the book at small chunks it is actually in part on Google Books. I thought this might be useful for those who wish to dip into it.

At 10/08/2009 12:11 PM, Anonymous Pstyle said...

Ordering my copy soon.

Andrew: I note the ongoing discussion (Loren Rosen) about whether or not it is possible to find a coherent voice in Paul's theology.

Should we be after a coherent voice? I wonder if Paul was trying to be systematic in his writings or whether he was learning as he went along. . .

At 11/09/2009 4:09 AM, Anonymous Andy Rowell said...

Chris, I have tried to collate selections from all of the early reviews including your comments here at Reviews of Douglas Campbell's The Deliverance of God: An Apocalyptic Rereading of Justification in Paul


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