A Review of J.M.G. Barclay’s “Paul and the Gift”


paul-and-the-giftJohn M.G. Barclay of Durham University (UK) recently wrote a book entitled Paul and the Gift (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2015), where he presents a study of the concept of grace through the lens of ancient gift-giving conventions. While I was excited to be able to read it, as it has been highly praised in many places, I found the book to have some foundational flaws with it. I found four problems that I want to note. My full book review was recently posted at the Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism.

First is what James Barr calls illegitimate identity transfer, providing the following description: “An object may be signified by word a or by word b. This does not mean that a means b … The identity of the object to which different designations are given does not imply that these designations have the same semantic value. The…

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