Douglas Campbell’s massive tome (740pp) on Paul looks intimidating. Yet because he writes in an inviting and skillful manner, almost any interested and motivated reader could grasp its content. In fact, it is one of the best-written theology books that I have ever read. Almost certainly, interested lay-persons, college students, and seminarians alike could read and understand this work of pauline theology. Added to that, the cross-disciplinary methodology of Campbell makes the content feel at home in the real world. Insights from sociology and other disciplines de-jargonize the theological arguments throughout.
While I am praising the book’s ability to communicate, I by no means will praise every argument that Campbell puts forward. In fact, I find myself in a position of critical appreciation (sometimes highly critical). For example, the sachkritik method of Campbell (pressing a key, clear idea into a less clear idea to make sense of it) sometimes overrides the scriptural evidence; his hopeful universalism becomes too skewed because it says more than Scripture does; his ethics according to sachkritik and anti-foundationalism lead to infelicitous conclusions; and his admittedly nuanced social trinitarianism gives me pause. [Read more…] about Review of Douglas Campbell’s Pauline Dogmatics