Monday, July 1, 2013
Book Review: Interpreting the Pauline Letters: An Exegetical Handbook by John D. Harvey
This book is the first one in the promising series, Handbooks for New Testament Exegesis from Kregel (Other planned titles include, Interpreting Apocalyptic Literature, Interpreting the General Letters, and Interpreting the Gospels and Acts).
The book is very useful for anyone studying the Apostle Paul (and who isn’t these days?) and his writings. Beginning with an exploration of genre issues and historical background, the author then moves to analyze Paul’s theology. Further, he gives practical steps to interpret passages in Paul’s letters, as well as giving some preaching pointers.
The Chapter At A Glance and The Chapter In Review text boxes at the beginning and ending of each chapter will help undergraduate students on what to expect and also what not to miss. Several charts throughout the book make the information more intelligible as well.
The Selected Resources are nice but painfully limited. An amplified Annotated Bibliography would have been great, and in my opinion would have made this short book (under 200 pages) much more valuable.
To fully profit from the book a basic knowledge of Greek is highly encouraged, but that is to be expected: How else can one expect to do serious biblical exegesis?
The book is recommended as a decent exegetical primer to the Pauline epistles.
Disclosure: The book was received for free from Kregel Academic & Ministry book review program. The program does not require a positive review, only a truthful one.