Item description for The Gospel According to Paul: The Creative Genius Who Brought Jesus to the World by Robin Griffith-Jones...
Overview In this compelling portrait of Paul the man, his message, and his world, Robin Griffith-Jones reveals the apostle as a brilliantly entrepreneurial witness to the transforming presence of Jesus himself. This groundbreaking book unlocks Paul's letters, revealing their purpose and power as never before.
In this compelling portrait of Paul the man, his message, and his world, Robin Griffith-Jones reveals the apostle as a brilliantly entrepreneurial witness to the transforming presence of Jesus himself. This groundbreaking book unlocks Paul′s letters, revealing their purpose and power as never before.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9" Width: 5.96" Height: 1.41" Weight: 1.3 lbs.
Release Date Mar 1, 2005
ISBN 0060730668 ISBN13 9780060730666 UPC 099455016957
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More About Robin Griffith-Jones
Robin Griffith-Jones is Master of the Temple at the Temple Church and Senior Lecturer in Theology, King's College London. He is author of The Four Witnesses (2000), The Gospel According to Paul (2004) and Mary Magdalene (2008). He initiated and managed the series of public discussions at the Temple Church, Islam and English Law, that was launched with the Archbishop of Canterbury's historic lecture on shari'a law.
Robin Griffith-Jones currently resides in London. Robin Griffith-Jones has an academic affiliation as follows - King's College London.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Gospel According to Paul: The Creative Genius Who Brought Jesus to the World?
A Dense, long and unsatisfying non-traditional commentary on Paul and his epistles Dec 18, 2007
Robin Griffith-Jones is a British Anglican who is a New Testament scholar. His earlier work "The Four Witnesses" on the gospels was well done and helpful to me as a Presbyterian pastor. It was, therefore, with eagerness I picked up this long and convoluted commentary on Paul in preparation for my teaching the Book of Acts in a Church Bible Study. I was disappointed with the post-modern jargon in which he doesn't even call Bible books by their names! Come on! The book is good in explaining the Jewish scholarly tradition which produced Paul. Many general readers will find this heavy going and alien turf. This is not a book for the neophyte biblical student! Griffith-Jones quotes extensively from rabbinical exegesis and the prophets most notably Ezekiel and Isaaih. Griffith-Jones says Paul was deeply influenced by the throne vision of Ezekiel as he expounded his theology. Griffith_Jones sees Paul's chief purpose in writing his letters to be that of a father-teacher instructing his followers on the basics of the Christian faith. Griffith-Jones views Paul as a maverick missionary who had distanced himself from Antioch-Jerusalem Christianity. I wonder if this assertion is valid to most biblical scholars? His detailed analysis of the individual letters has good material. He is especially facile in looking at Paul's masterpiece "Romans" and the various factions in the Corinthian church. The book is best read as you have an open bible turned to the letter being exegeted. Griffith-Jones needs to work at clarity in his style! He jumps too quickly from topic to topic. He sees Paul as a prophet and seer who was instrumental in carrying his brand of the gospel of Jesus to the Mediterranean basin cities of the first century. I would not recommend this book to a layperson. The best book on Paul for the general reader is, in my opinion, the old classic by F.F. Bruce.
Convoluted, obtuse, and without "Breath" Jul 25, 2007
Now...if my title seems construed, trust me, you won't enjoy reading this tome. It's a real heavyweight, both in terms of content, thickness, and thick-headed post-modern thought.
Why some modern Bible scholars insist on using terms like B.C.E. and C.E. instead of the normalized B.C. and A.D., not to mention "the Breath" vs. "the Spirit" and "Q" instead of the gospels of Matthew and Mark, is beyond me. Maybe they need to impress someone, but it isn't your everyday Bible student.
In any case, I digress. If you really want to dig out the good stuff by diving into the mire of Mr. Griffith-Jones' work, just be aware that this is not a traditionalist approach to Paul or his epistles. It's a foray into issues better addressed in other much more comprehensible books.
But, there are insights to be gained. I especially enjoyed the author's discussion on the converted Jewish point of view and the problems of negotiating what made a Jewish believer and a Gentile believer equal in the sight of God.It engenders sympathy for Peter and Barnabas' "hypocrisy" in trying to remain Jewish and yet be on common ground with the new pagan converts.
Overall, the book is just too full of it's author's grandiose opinion of his particular style and his private interpretation of Paul's agendas. If you must have it, I recommend a used copy. The money saved may help you swallow your disappointment. But, that's only my opinion!
Excellent Second Interpretation. Read the Epistles First. Oct 21, 2006
`The Gospel According to Paul' by Oxford (Lincoln College) don, Robin Griffith-Jones is a deep, rigorous, and thoughtful examination of Paul's principal Epistles and a description of the personal and theological environment in which they were written.
The title contains an `illuminating error' in that while none of Paul's writings have ever been grouped together with the four canonical gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), it signifies that Paul's writings are at least as important, and possibly even more important to both the early development of the Church and to later Theology. Paul's theology is especially important to a host of important figures. Some of the most significant of these are Augustine, Luther, Calvin, and Jonathan Edwards. Luther's most important theological lectures before his 95 Theses were on Paul's epistle to the Romans. In a nutshell, Paul is probably the most important figure in Christianity next to Jesus.
In the beginning of the book, the author makes some suggestions that this book was written for the lay reader and is possibly easier to read than commentaries written for Theology students and pastors. I wish to suggest here that the book may be really slow going for the reader unfamiliar with the underlying texts (I am inclined to agree with Luther in his commentary on `Romans' that one is almost compelled to memorize the text of this Epistle if you really expect to fully understand Christian doctrine.) The first practice which makes the reading slow going is the fact that biblical scholar Griffith-Jones insists on using unfamiliar translations for some really central terms, such as `Old Order' for `Old Testament', `New Order' for `New Testament', `breath' for spirit, and `assembly' for `congregation'. Simply making the mental translation is often not enough, as some passages simply sound foreign to our ears when the `breath' for `spirit' substitution is laid on. However, Griffith-Jones' fastidious translation often bears fruit. For example, in an extremely important passage from Romans 1:17, the author translates Paul's quote from Habakkuk 2:4 to be "Those who are just from faith will live". When one looks at the same translation in the `official' (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) NRSV translation, the meaning almost comes across backwards: "The one who is righteous will live in faith". (Oddly enough, the NRSV does not translate the passage the same way in Habakkuk and in Romans, but then, Paul may have misquoted!).
While this book may be small compared to the commentaries on Paul's Epistles by several writers, it is valuable to those of us who wish to interpret the scriptures in that it makes a point of viewing the texts from a bit of a greater distance than writers such as Luther and the authors of, for example, `The Interpreter's Bible'. The single most important `meta-observation' Griffith-Jones makes is that Paul's letters are best read as a whole (see again, Luther's comment, above). Each Epistle is composed and hangs together much like a great poem, or maybe even more accurately like a great drama. Reading parts of chapters, as we do in services from week to week is sort of like taking Polonius' speech to Ophilia out of its context in Shakespeare's `Hamlet'. From this snippet, you think the play is about etiquette and not about the tragedy of indecision. The author's argument here is one of the best I've seen for supplementing readings in the service with adult Sunday School study where, as in a class on Shakespeare, one can hear and explore many alternate views of the scriptures.
Griffith-Jones' interpretation of Romans is a perfect example. Here, he give not one but three different readings of this most important text. The first is the most conventional, based on the observation that unlike all his other Epistles, this one is being written to an `assembly' he did not himself create and nurture in person. That means the text has no need to spend time on issues which are special to this local community, as when `Galatians' deals much with the importance observing the law of the `Old Order' for gentile followers of `the Way'. Thus, Paul can present a comprehensive discussion of his Theology without distractions. The second rendering of the Epistle looks a bit deeper and finds textual evidence that Paul is indeed addressing a specific agenda set by either the Romans or the Corinthians (Paul is writing the Epistle in Greek Corinth). The third reading explores to the fullest the composition of the Epistle to the Romans as a drama with a beginning, a middle, and an end.
If one is looking for biographical information on Paul, you will not find it in this book. Like the much later Shakespeare, the lion's share of information on the authors' biographies is about London and England of Shakespeare's time. In place of any biography, the author sets the stage for Paul by laying out the tradition of divine revelation from the `Old Order' prophets and seers and how Paul's revelation on the road to Damascus fits into this tradition. Griffith-Jones also for a chapter plays the devil's advocate by trying to discredit Paul's `bona fides' and confesses that Paul survives these arguments.
In a nutshell, this may be a difficult book to read. I can imagine much of the same material being presented in a more easily assimilated style. But, you may be missing much of the deeper currents in Paul's writings if you stick with the more conventional works. Reading Luther's commentary on `Romans', for example, just gives us the most conventional interpretation (especially since it was written while a professor of Theology for just three years). I suggest that you read both the individual Epistles and a conventional commentary before reading Griffith-Jones' interpretation on each Epistle.
Tells the truth on the Bible's stand against homosexuality May 15, 2006
The author Jones points out how the book of Romans completely knocks as sinful homosexual practices in both men and women. A winner of a book!
Very Helpful Commentary on Romans Apr 17, 2006
Seemingly, I'm unlike the other readers of this book because I picked it up in order to get a better understanding of Paul's Letter to the Romans.
Though I was raised in the Western Traditions and thus supposedly familiar with what's in the New Testament, I grew up in one of those mainline protestant churches that didn't require memorizing bible verses for sunday school. As such, now as an adult, I'm reading the New Testament in its entirely--as opposed to snippets from a bulletin--for the first time in my life.
I'm studying Paul's Epistle to the Romans, and this book has made slogging through Roman's 100% easier.
My sense is that Griffith-Jones doesn't require one to be familiar with the NT. In fact, my sense is that he assumes the reader of his book will be like me-- an educated adult but one not exposed to the Bible or much modern bible scholarship. Apparently w/in the last 20-30 years, current scholarship is emphasizing the Jewish roots that Xtnty emerged from and is attempting to undo some of the harm that occurred from a focus of how different Xtnty is from Judaism.
I think Griffith-Jones is accomplishing respecting the origins of the Xtn message from the Jewish Tradition without having to make one path less important than the other path. As St. Paul says in Romans, the Xtn branch was grafted onto the cultivated Jewish olive tree.
Griffith-Jones' tone isn't strident like what one finds in Borg or Crossan or Spong. I like reading Borg/Crossan/Spong but they've got their own goals which they push hard. Griffith-Jones seems to push his agenda more softly.
The other scholar I like these days is Bart Ehrman. He's another writer who respects his audience w/o assuming that his readers are only going to be Xtns or that they're familiar with the Bible.
Good grief -- most of the Xtns I know have never read the Bible.
But with The DaVinci Code and Holy Blood/Holy Grail and now the translation of the Gospel of Judas making pop culture headlines, a lot of us who grew up in a church--or not--are taking a closer look at one of, if not the, major influence on the development of Western Culture.
I guess I should close by saying, if you're attempting Romans, I found the chapters on Romans to be very helpful. So helpful that I'm going to read his commentary on the other letters.