In this newly translated volume, Michael Wolter (University of Bonn, Germany) outlines the architecture of the Apostle’s theology. Wolter contends that it is indeed possible to discover Paul’s core theological commitments, despite the fact that the sources for Paul’s theology—his letters—are diverse, contextually dependent snapshots of the Apostle’s thinking at a particular moment in time.
Wolter frames Paul’s enterprise as a theology of mission and conversion—a mission that accounts for the life and preaching of Paul and a conversion that highlights the experience of Christ shared by all believers. Pauline theology finds expression in the phrase "faith in Christ," which refers to the complete reorientation and exclusive new identity of the Christian.
Wolter places Paul’s theology into a narrative context, often referred to by Paul himself, that emphasizes the time before Paul’s conversion, Paul’s encounter with the risen Christ, and the complex events leading to the Antioch incident. Wolter then explores the theology of Paul’s Gospel and the response to this good news—faith—before detailing eleven interlocking and overlapping elements of Paul’s thought.
Wolter’s outline successfully delineates a theology common to all of Paul’s letters, and does so without collapsing the texts into a timeless whole. By using the language of Paul himself, Wolter reveals the unity of Paul’s theology while simultaneously unpacking it via categories drawn from modern scholarship. Wolter’s Paul is as vibrant as it is careful—as compelling as it is relevant.
Preface to the German EditionPreface to the English EditionTranslator’s PrefaceI. PrologueII. From Tarsus to DamascusIII. The Period in AntiochIV. The GospelV. FaithVI. The Salvific Reality of Jesus’ DeathVII. BaptismVIII. The Holy SpiritIX. HopeX. "Christ Mysticism" and "Participation in Christ"XI. The Community of BelieversXII. EthicsXIII. Justification on the Basis of FaithXIV. And What Becomes of Israel?XV. EpilogueWorks CitedIndex of Biblical TextsIndex of SubjectsIndex of Greek Words
With magisterial breadth and provocative analysis, Michael Wolter offers a bold new interpretation of Paul's theology focusing on the interface between Paul's theological development and the identity formation of his converts.~Susan Eastman, Associate Research Professor of New Testament, Duke Divinity School
This book on the theology of the Apostle serves as a milestone of Paul interpretation to which all future scholarly work must pay attention. The author is due grateful respect and high recognition for the outstanding achievement that he has rendered.~Eduard Lohse, Theologische Literaturzeitung
Whoever searches for Paul under the theologians rather than under the philosophers strikes it rich with Michael Wolter…For Wolter, Paul the theologian stands clearly in the foreground—and why not, when a theologian writes a book for theologians?~Karl-Wilhelm Niebuhr, Theologische Literaturzeitung
Exceptionally incisive and thorough~Bible Today
Wolter offers a careful and magisterial overview of Pauline theology in a readable and relatively concise form. There is much that is rich and insightful in this treatment. It is also only fair to acknowledge the translational skills of Robert Brawley who has created accurate and accessible English prose. This is an important work that will be consulted frequently and with much reward.~Paul Foster, Expository Times
For a fresh, thoughtful, and by today’s standards relatively brief introduction to Pauline theology, this work is definitely worth chewing on and digesting. It challenges us to see Paul’s theology as ultimately consistent and eminently practical.~Michael J. Gorman, Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology
Wolter is to be gratefully commended for this formidable achievement: a presentation of Paul’s theology that is comprehensive in scope, measured in judgment, and illuminating in insight.~Julien Smith, Catholic Biblical Quarterly