Running Heads

From the editors of Cascade Books and Pickwick Publications at Wipf and Stock Publishers

Paul’s Non-Violent Gospel

Jeremy Gabrielson completed his PhD at St. Andrews a couple of years ago under the supervision of Bruce Longenecker and Kelly Iverson. His dissertation is now soon to be published in our academic imprint, Pickwick Publications, with the title Paul’s Non-Violent Gospel: The Theological Politics of Peace in Paul’s Life and Letters. Scholars are beginning to take notice of the peaceable dimensions of Paul’s thought, theology, and life (see, for example, Michael Gorman and N. T. Wright), but no one that I know has yet to put forth such a sustained argument as Gabrielson does. Here’s a description of his thesis from the Introduction:

As briefly and pointedly as can be stated, my argument is this: adoption of a politics of non-violence was, for Paul and the communities he established, a constitutive part of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Rather than viewing Paul’s references to peace and non-retaliation as generalized ethical principles drawn from his Jewish background (though this no doubt contributes to Paul’s understanding of these concepts), these terms and their corresponding practices are linked to Paul’s experience of being a violent persecutor of Jesus’ followers whose violent life was shattered on the road to Damascus. Enlivened by the risen Jesus from this point on, Paul’s task of announcing the gospel to the nations involved calling and equipping assemblies of people whose common life was ordered by a politics (by which I mean, chiefly, a mode of corporate conduct) characterized by peaceableness.

Here’s what others have said about Gabrielson’s work:

In Paul’s Non-Violent Gospel, Jeremy Gabrielson asks new questions regarding Paul’s theological commitments and, in the process, discovers new theological resources within Paul’s worldview. This important and challenging work deserves wide consideration. —Bruce W. Longenecker, W.W. Melton Chair of Religion, Baylor University

Gabrielson’s work is of importance for its scholarly insight and practical instruction. Gabrielson establishes beyond any doubt that Paul’s encounter with the risen Jesus radically changed Paul’s life, politics, and character; practically, the work reminds the contemporary church that how Jesus embraced non-violence stood at the center of what Paul required of all believers. Scholarly, yet accessible, the book needs to find a home among groups of readers—from the graduate seminar on Paul to home bible studies, not only in the United States and Canada, but throughout the world. —John W. Wright, Professor of Theology and Christian Scriptures, Point Loma Nazarene University

Gabrielson’s thesis is important, I think, for today’s Christians who are often more inclined to beat the war drums than smoke the peace pipes. I encourage you to look for the book this coming fall. If you will be in Baltimore for ETS, SBL, and/or AAR in November, you should find discounted copies of the book at our stall. Come by, check it out, and say hi to the Wipf and Stock crew.

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