The Story of My Books # 4 - A Bird's-Eye View of Paul
Book # 4 was A Bird’s-Eye View of Paul: The Man, His Mission, and His Message (UK, IVP, 2009). It was published in the USA under the banal title Introducing Paul (Downers Grove, InterVarsity, 2009). InterVarsity USA changed the British title to the American one because, get this, InterVarsity was worried that American readers might think the book had something to do with frozen food products, i.e., Birds’-Eye Fish Fingers!
Anyway, this book was written after teaching several semesters of Pauline theology and exegesis at the Highland Theological College in Scotland. It was written when debates about the New Perspective on Paul, imputed righteousness, and anti-imperial readings of Paul were at their height. So I tried to put together an incisive, accessible, and fun introduction to explain some of the points of contention in the Pauline letters.
This book, BEVP as I call it, has done very well as a textbook for undergraduate courses. I think I offer cogent explanations for how one can affirm the centrality of union with Christ and imputed righteousness, the section on Paul and empire has proved to be illuminating to many readers, there’s stuff on Paul’s conversion, the various sub-stories behind Pauline theology, I wrote the “Hymn to Carlos Hernandez” to give a contemporary explanation of the foolishness of the cross, and there’s a section on Pauline spirituality.
Trevin Wax wrote a very generous review over at TGC. Wax kindly noted: “Bird attempts to do what many believe is impossible: incorporate the best aspects of the New Perspective within a largely traditional Reformed framework.”
Otherwise, I’m currently writing a sequel to BEVP, called A Bird’s-Eye View of Luke-Acts.