Luke Timothy Johnson wrote Constructing Paul with the expertise of one who has spent much of his life studying Paul and his world. In this first of two volumes, Johnson lays out his vision for constructing Paul.
Johnson explains, “In this work I propose a third sort of construction, not of the life and thought of the ‘historical Paul,’ nor Paul’s thought as understood or used by later ecclesiastical commentators and theologians, but of the elements required for a responsible reading of the letters ascribed to Paul in the New Testament canon” (12–13).
He continues: “The essays in this first volume undertake an assessment of all the elements needed for a reader to do serious study of these letters” (13).
In essence, volume one provides the framework to hear Paul’s voice, which Johnson hopes to convey (or hear) in the second volume (15). The first volume of Constructing Paul thus provides the scaffolding to undertake serious study of Paul’s letters, which Johnson will illustrate in volume 2.