Must-Read Book List for Preparing to be a Pauline Research/Scholar

As I am nearing the completion of my doctoral research, I have been reflecting on how ‘ready’ I am to engage within the guild of NT and specifically Pauline scholars and whether my base of knowledge is mature enough and up-to-date, so to speak. It is becoming increasingly difficult to play catch-up because of the rate of scholarship output in Paul. But, one must have goals. So, I am setting my sights to complete a list of books on Paul that I think everyone should read before, during, or soon after their doctorate. You may have concerns with what I included, or you may feel that I left things out. So be it. I am not going for an exhaustive list, but a reasonable one. You will notice that I have aimed for covering a broad range of areas so as to touch upon key categories of research. I have not read every book on this list – some I have read in full, others in part, and a few I wish to work through in the next two years.

A. Schweitzer, The Mysticism of Paul the Apostle (NY: H. Holt & Co., 1931).

V.P. Furnish, Theology and Ethics in Paul (Nashville: Abingdon, 1968).

E. Kasemann, Perspectives on Paul (London: SCM, 1971).

Krister Stendahl, Paul Among Jews and Gentiles (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1974) paperback, $12. This includes his classic essay, “Paul and the Introspective Conscience of the West.”

E.P. Sanders, Paul and Palestinian Judaism: A Comparison of Patterns of Religion (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1977) paperback, $30. A landmark study.

Gerd Theissen, The Social Setting of Pauline Christianity: Essays on Corinth, trans. John Schulz (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1982).

Wayne Meeks, The First Urban Christians: The Social World of the Apostle Paul (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1983) paperback, $18. A widely-acclaimed social analysis of the early Christian movement.

J. Christiaan Beker, Paul the Apostle: The Triumph of God in Life and Thought (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1984)

Richard Hays, Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul (New Haven: Yale UP, 1989).

Abraham Malherbe, Paul and the Popular Philosophers (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1989).

Morna Hooker. From Adam to Christ: Essays on Paul. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990.

Jerome H. Neyrey, Paul, In Other Words: A Cultural Reading of His Letters (Louisville, KY: Westminster / John Knox, 1990) hardcover, $23.

Wright, N. T. The Climax of the Covenant : Christ and the Law in Pauline Theology. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1993.

G.D. Fee, God’s Empowering Presence: The Holy Spirit in the Letters of Paul (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1994).

J. Louis Martyn, Theological Issues in the Letters of Paul (Nashville: Abingdon, 1997) hardcover, $40.

B. Longenecker, ed. Narrative Dynamics in Paul: A Critical Assessment (Louisville: WJK, 2002).

J.P. Sampley, ed. Paul in the Greco-Roman World: A Handbook (Continuum 2003).

J.D.G. Dunn, The New Perspective on Paul (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2007).

Horsley, Richard A., ed. Paul and Empire: Religion and Power in Roman Imperial Society. Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International, 1997.