Published in the US (UK on 30th Nov. 2016) I’m looking forward to reading Australian theologian Michael Bird’s latest book, An Anomalous Jew: Paul among Jews, Greeks, and Romans (pub. 15th November, 2016, 310 pages). It is a mix of some previously published material on Paul and also some original work by Bird.
‘An Anomalous Jew reveals a lively, well-informed portrait of the complex figure who was the apostle Paul. Though Paul is often lauded as the first great Christian theologian and a champion for Gentile inclusion in the church, in his own time he was universally regarded as a strange and controversial person. In this book Pauline scholar Michael Bird explains why.
An Anomalous Jew presents the figure of Paul in all his complexity with his blend of common and controversial Jewish beliefs and a faith in Christ that brought him into conflict with the socio-religious scene around him. Bird elucidates how the apostle Paul was variously perceived ― as a religious deviant by Jews, as a divisive figure by Jewish Christians, as a purveyor of dubious philosophy by Greeks, and as a dangerous troublemaker by the Romans. Readers of this book will better understand the truly anomalous shape of Paul's thinking and worldview.’
Michael Bird sums up his book in this way:
‘…Paul was a socio-religious anomaly. He appeared on the scene of the Greco-Roman world like a sudden yet small ripple moving upon the waters of a still river. He goes mostly unnoticed in his own time, and yet by the time the ripple reaches the shores of the modern age, it has become a tsunami. Paul’s anomaly, offensive as it was to Jews and odd as it was to Greeks, became the Gentile Christianity that eventually swallowed up the Roman Empire and even to this day casts its shadow upon the religious landscape of the world. Not bad for a Jewish tent maker from Tarsus.’
For more on the book, visit the Eerdword site for a written interview with Bird, here.