The State of New Testament Studies: Mike Bird on Paul in His World

SNTSThe book The State of New Testament Studies (Baker Academic) is coming out in November, edited by Scot McKnight and myself (Nijay). One of the contributors is Michael F. Bird. His chapter is entitled, “Paul, a Jew among Jews, Greeks, and Romans.”

Mike and I have worked together on a lot of projects, so I am glad to introduce you to him and his work!

NKG: Why are you interested in the historical Paul in his social world?

MFB: Because Paul is a monumental figure for early Christian history and Christian thought!
NKG: How has the historical study of Paul changed or developed over the last two decades?

MFB: The study of Paul is increasingly fragmented with all sorts of schools, like Apocalyptic Paul, Paul-in-Judaism, New Perspective, Post-Colonial Studies, etc. Also, there are continually new landmarks in biblical studies, such N.T. Wright’s PFG or John Barclay’s PATG, these works usually echo over a period of time.

NKG: What has been one book that has been significant in the study of Paul in his world?

MFB: I would recommend John Barclay, Jews in the Mediterranean Diaspora – great book on the religious and cultural world of Diaspora Jews.

NKG: We all know you are plenty busy! Congrats on your new book The New Testament In Its World (co-written with NT Wright). What are you working on now?
MFB: I am working on New Testament Theology, Luke-Acts, and Mercy in the Ancient World.