N.T. Wright, “What Saint Paul Really Said”

Wright suggests the world was not particularly ready for the Christian message per se, though it was ready for its spreading, technologically (85-86).

He writes much about how Jewish Paul was — a dissident Jew, of course (like a prophet), but a Jew nonetheless.  Paul did not see himself as an apostate or as starting a new religion from scratch, etc.

Likewise, Wright stresses how Paul tries to convince Jews that they have missed the boat:  that the Messiah has come, so the next stage has begun, and the emphasis should no longer be on Jewish identity and separation, but on bringing Gentiles into the fold.

Some more general notes on Wright’s approach in this book:  (1) he is theologically conservative (but politically liberal regarding, at least, economics); (2) he is very deep and detailed on Paul’s theology; and (3) there’s not a lot on Jesus, but one section paints Him as seeing Himself more as Messiah than (consciously) as Lord.