November 26, 2010

Book Review

Reinventing Paul by John Gager

The author's goal of this books is to challenge the assumption of the traditional view of Paul and present a new view(s). There are 5 chapters in this book:
  • The Traditional View of Paul
  • New Views of Paul
  • The Letter to the Galatians
  • The Letter to the Romans
  • Loose Ends
In my opinion, the author makes some serious errors right from the beginning. First, it seems he is operating on the assumption that Paul wrote Galatians and Romans. While it is true that Paul is the human author, we must remember that the words are inspired by the Holy Spirit. So it isn't really Paul writing what he thinks, rather it is God telling us what He wants us to know about the Jews and the Gentiles and salvation.

Second, the author focuses on and compares Galatians and Romans. When trying to understand the meaning of a particular portion of Scripture you must compare it with all other Scripture of the same topic. The author does not do this, rather limits his use of Scripture to attempt to prove what he thinks and wants to accomplish with his book.

It seemed to me the real purpose of this book was to simply publish something. Often times academic institutions strongly encourage the faculty to produce something. It looks as though this book is an example of that mentality.

Much of the book is simply quoting what other people have already wrote. In fact, there are over 400 footnotes that take up over thirty pages in the back.

Overall, in my opinion, this book is totally worthless and filled with nonsensical ideas. To give an example, Gager says of himself on page 151 that he is "a non-believing 'Christian'". I am not sure what that means, but I am certain he will figure out what it means someday.

Skip this book!

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