Wednesday, November 25, 2015

VIDEO: Paul and "gift"

If you were at AAR/SBL this year in Atlanta, and your interest is in NT, or even more narrowly, Pauline studies, you would have likely heard about John Barclay's just published book, Paul and the Gift. On top of that, maybe you had the chance to attend the session devoted to reviews of Barclay's book, with a very serious panel consisting of Joel Marcus, Margaret Mitchell, and Miroslav Volf. I had kind of a packed schedule, so I only caught the back end of Dr. Marcus's review (honestly, all I remember is him saying that Paul and the gift is a gift that keeps on giving and some comments about 4 Ezra) and stayed for most of Dr. Mitchell's review before I had to scoot out for a meeting and run back when Barclay was giving some final comments. Again, I had to leave early again, so needless to say, I didn't get to hear a lot of the interactions regarding Barclay's book.

Also, I had meant to finish reading Barclay's book before this session but my schedule got ahead of me, so it was helpful to hear from Marcus and Mitchell on some of the perceived shortcomings of Barclay's book–though as far as I could tell, it was very well received despite the critical comments about it. In my opinion thus far, the book is very well organized and clearly argued; it seems to me that Barclay's book dances along that fine line between the appropriation of method(s)/analytical tool(s) (in Barclay's case, the 6 "perfections" of gift/grace) and careful sifting through the primary sources. Honestly, it's rare to find a book of this length and quality that doesn't seem unnecessarily long or difficult to read given the technical fine points of book x. It's so clear and well organized to the degree that I think even a non-specialist could derive huge benefits from reading his book.

Anyway, if you are interested, I also saw that there is a short clip of Barclay explaining his project. Check it out:

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