Here, finally, is a much-needed review and analysis of the divergent interpretations of Paul. In this superb work Stephen Westerholm compares the traditional, "Lutheran" understanding of Paul to recent, "New Perspective" readings of Paul, drawing on the writings of key figures in the debate both past and present.
Westerholm first offers a detailed portrait of the "Lutheran" Paul, including the way theologians like Augustine, Luther, Calvin, and Wesley have traditionally interpreted "justification by faith" to mean that God declares sinners "righteous" by his grace apart from "works." Westerholm then explores how the "Lutheran" Paul has fared in the twentieth century, where "New Perspective" readings of Paul see the point of his doctrine to be that Gentiles need not become Jews or observe Jewish law to be God's people. The final section of the book looks anew at disputed areas of Paul's theological language and offers compelling discussion on the place of both justification by faith and Mosaic law in divine redemption.
This book's comprehensive coverage of Pauline interpreters and its fresh insights into Pauline thought make it ideal for use as a text.
The Bible Today
"A thorough and very illuminating study of Pauline interpretation, with particular emphasis on the longstanding debate over whether the Pauline teaching on justification through faith alone should stand at the heart of Pauline theology."
"Wit and humor make this weighty volume an excellent source for the novice and for the seasoned scholar. Recommended."
Thomas R. Schreiner
"Stephen Westerholm's book is the ideal entr?e into the discussion on Paul, the law, and justification. Only here will readers find both contemporary and historic contributions to the debate explained. Westerholm reminds us that Augustine, Luther, Calvin, and Wesley must be reckoned with seriously as profound interpreters of Paul. He also provides his own incisive and insightful contribution to the biblical text, repristinating the perspective of Luther for our day. Throughout, Westerholm writes with the sparkling clarity and wit that is characteristic of all his work."
"This eagerly awaited volume is a gem. After years of debate about the 'new perspective, ' a debate bogged down with multiple confusions, Stephen Westerholm describes and analyzes all the main viewpoints on Paul's theology of law, grace, and justification from Augustine onward. With enviable clarity, incisive observation, and shafts of humor, Westerholm reaffirms and refines the 'old perspective' while also incorporating the strong points of the new. This is the book we all have needed, both scholars and students. It will surely help us escape the impasse in our current debates."
Bruce W. Longenecker
"Since its publication in 1988, Stephen Westerholm's book Israel's Law and the Church's Faith has served as one of the best explorations of Paul's view of justification by faith. That book is now superseded by Perspectives Old and New on Paul. Westerholm here elongates the temporal parameters of his earlier work, reconstructing the views of Paul's most significant interpreters from the distant past to the turn of the twenty-first century. Against the backdrop of his fair and principled survey of scholarship, Westerholm's own examination of Paul's texts is characterized by a depth of analytical and theological perception rarely found in scholarly studies. For those with time to read only one book about Paul's view of justification by faith, this should be the book. And for those with time to read more, this is the book to start with."
Simon J. Gathercole
"Written with sparkling humor, this book is a landmark work both in its treatment of the vast scholarly literature and in its crisp exegesis of Paul himself. Perspectives Old and New on Paul is proof again, if proof were needed, that Stephen Westerholm is still head and shoulders above almost everyone else as an interpreter of Paul."
"Stephen Westerholm's most recent missive from the battlefield of Pauline studies will enliven the most dazed student and cheer the crustiest scholar. With his clear head and winsome sense of humor, Westerholm has once again produced one of the most insightful and readable studies available on the role of the Mosaic law, divine grace, and Christian faith in Pauline theology."