John Barclay’s Very Brief History of Paul

Euangelion | 3/26/2019 | Staff
crazycool12crazycool12 (Posted by) Level 4
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London: SPCK, 2017.

Available at SPCK.

Book - Hours - Barclay - Overview - Paul

This is a terrific little book, you can read it in 1-2 hours, where Barclay gives a brief overview of Paul and his influence.

Barclay describes Paul as “one of the most interesting and unusual characters from the ancient world” and refers to Paul’s “anomalous” attitude to Jewish practices – FYI, inspired by Barclay on this point, I wrote an entire book on Paul as An Anomalous Jew.

Damascus - Road - Barclay - Resolution - Tensions

When it comes to the Damascus Road, Barclay says: “What happened next was not the resolution of an inner psychological tensions, nor the salving of a guilty conscience, but a revolution in his understanding of the world, of himself, of right and wrong, and of the God he worshipped.” This proved to Paul, so Barclay says, that if someone who had been so wrong could be put right, then “God’s grace was not given on the basis of human worth. That was an unnerving discovery, since it was normally (and understandably) imagined that God’s best gifts were differentially distributed according to the worth of the recipients. But if God’s favour was given without respect for worth it was no limited, Paul came to see, by any ethnic criteria.” And “Paul’s own experience and the experience of his Gentile converts was that God paid no regard to human systems of social, moral or ethnic worth, and this alarmingly unexpected behaviour by God, demonstrated in Christ, shaped all Paul’s convictions about history. He traced in the story of Abraham and in the story of Israel (Romans 4; 9-11) a pattern of unconditioned mercy that came to its climactic expression in Christ.”

Barclay thinks that Paul “gave to the early Christian movement a clear Jewish (i.e. scriptural) rationale for its spread into the non-Jewish world, and for its mission among non-Jews on terms that...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Euangelion
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