Written by B.W. Longenecker (ed.) Reviewed By Alistair I. Wilson

This collection of thirteen essays provides sustained reflection on the value of ‘narrative’ for understanding Paul.

It is composed of three unequal parts. The first part is an introductory essay by the editor. In the second, major part, the essays focus on Romans and Galatians in particular. The contributors (E. Adams, J.M.G. Barclay, D. Campbell, M.D. Hooker, D.G. Horrell, A.T. Lincoln, I.H. Marshall, R.B. Matlock and G.N. Stanton) consider the extent to which various stories (such as those of God and creation; Israel; Jesus; Paul) are present and significant in these Pauline letters. Finally, two essays by J.D.G. Dunn and F. Watson reflect on the preceding work as a whole.

The book follows the increasingly popular format of a paper followed by a response. This is a very helpful approach, as there is a sense of the various authors engaging in conversation which helps to highlight controversial issues for the reader. There is a considerable diversity of opinion both as to the definition of ‘narrative’ and of the value of ‘narrative’ approaches for understanding Paul, but the general consensus (at least as discerned by the authors) of the summary essays, is that a sensitivity to ‘story’ has something to offer Pauline studies while Paul cannot be understood properly simply as a storyteller. This book will probably be most useful to those who already have some acquaintance with the language and basic principles of narrative theology. For those with a little background, it provides a useful blend of reflection on methodology and practical use of the method in reading Paul.

Alistair I. Wilson

Alistair I. Wilson
Highland Theological College UHI
Dingwall, Scotland, UK