Summary Reviews

Below are a summary of the reviews of Contours of Pauline Theology. You can also read all the reviews in full on this site.

‘there is a remarkable thesis being presented here that demands scholarly attention’.‘He has certainly produced a strong argument for a much greater influence of Passover typology than has generally been thought to be the case, and his arguments for the atoning sacrificial understanding of the original Passover sacrifice powerfully support the case argued by J. Jeremias and L.Morris’.‘Dr Holland has produced a stimulating volume which deserves the most careful scrutiny from New Testament students. It is a remarkably fresh and creative study which makes one re-think familiar passages in new ways’.

Prof H I Marshal Aberdeen University Evangelical Quarterly

‘It provides a fresh and useful treatment of Pauline theology, and many of its arguments offer corrections to widespread misunderstandings of Paul’.

Prof Anthony C. Thiselton Nottingham University Expository Times

It should be compulsory reading for any who feel in any way seduced by the arguments of either liberal or ‘New Perspective’ theologians on the origins and content of Paul’s theology. It presents compelling evidence that Paul’s theology was thoroughly rooted in the Old Testament.

Robert Strivens The Banner of Truth

‘This is certainly radical and it boldly pushes forward an idea that has not really been discussed in Pauline scholarship’.

Tan Kim Huat Trinity Theological Journal

‘a welcome and important contribution to the controversial area of Pauline theology’.

Bill James Reformation Today

‘Contours of Pauline Theology is a valuable tool for those in the Messianic movement who want to understand the New Testament, and those in the wider body of Messiah who are confused because they have been taught to read a thoroughly Jewish book through Greek lenses’.

Richard Gibson Chai Magazine

‘The strengths of the book are its robust challenge to many scholarly presuppositions and an impetus to new research on Paul’s debt to the Old Testament…There is much that is very good and stimulating in this book’.

Anthony Bash European Journal of Theology

‘he has pointed to an interesting and important motif in the OT, in early Judaism and in Paul’s theology, which needs to be studied more systematically and in depth. Many of his challenges of recent scholarship on Paul and suggestions of his own are worth pondering’.

Christoph Stenschke Themelios

‘Those who would seek to discredit Pauline theology will appreciate Holland’s scholarship and the sound arguments on Paul’s behalf. Those who ascribe to Paul as an apostle of Jesus Christ will appreciate Holland’s apologetic prowess and find Paul’s Jewish hermeneutic illuminating’.

The American Journal of Biblical Theology

‘I am thankful to Dr. Holland for he has renewed my desire to study Paul’s writings and to understand afresh the glorious gospel that animated the life and ministry of this apostle’.

Peter Misselbrook Evangelicals Now

‘If Tom Holland’s conclusions are accepted, then it would mean a radical rethinking in the way we approach some of the well-known passages of Paul’s letters’.

Philip Eveson Evangelical Times

Generally speaking, conservative Reformed criticisms of the new perspective on Paul strike me as lackluster and predictable. That cannot be said, however, of Tom Holland’s new book, which is bound to shake loose some long-standing presuppositions in Pauline studies.

Holland’s book raises enough questions about traditional assumptions to clear the way for groundbreaking research, and his approach does allow for a rigorous reexamination of the degree to which Paul is indebted to texts like Isaiah and the Pentateuch.

Mark Mattison The Paul Page

‘The present reviewer, an Old Testament specialist, finds Holland’s arguments as largely compelling and would suggest that Holland has re-integrated the faith of Old and New Testaments in a manner that serves effectively to emphasise the unity of Scripture’.

Stephen Dray Evangel

‘The new perspective has both helpful insights and troubling implications – so we should do our best to reflect on it. To this end, Holland’s book has been one of the best helps I have come across. It is readable, scholarly, imaginative and stimulating. All in one book!’

Chris Sinkinson Congregational Concern

This is a book to be placed in the hands of serious academics, Jewish or Christian, who are interested in Pauline studies and the relationship between Christianity and Judaism.

David Bond Laussane Consultation on Jewish Evangelism

Contours of Pauline Theology is an important and brilliant book. I recommend it to all prospective students of theology to read and study before they go to university.

Mike Moore Christian Witness to Israel

‘It is refreshing to read something radically new in such a popular area as Pauline studies. So often what promised new perspectives, new insights, turns out not to be essentially different. Tom Holland’s original and creative approach to Paul does not fall into this category.
Here Paul is not the innovator of Christian doctrine- he received his theological model from his Jewish upbringing in which he was taught that Yahweh would bring about the promised New Exodus. Paul came to realize that this had been inaugurated by the paschal death of Christ. Thus Holland maintains that there existed a common hermeneutical model for both Judaism and the New Testament church i.e. the New Exodus. Justification is not a declaration of being in the covenant, but refers back to the creation of a covenant between Yahweh and His people. This view of justification fits in with Paul’s doctrine of corporate baptism, the washing of the believing community accomplished by the Spirit through the death of Christ. Paul’s theology is not individualistic, but corporate, so it is believers collectively as the church and not the believer’s individual body which comprise the temple of the Holy Spirit. I anticipate that if it finds acceptance, the proposals of this book should provide a timely and fruitful alternative to some of the theological emphases that have guided the church for too long’.

Dr. William S. Campbell University of Wales, Lampeter

‘In his Contours of Pauline Theology Dr Holland argues forcefully that the main contours of Paul’s thought can only be understood when we understand Paul as an exegete and theologian of the Old Testament, with the hoped-for New Exodus, now fulfilled in Christ, at the centre of his reading strategy. This approach finds corporate and covenantal themes to lie at the very heart of Paul’s concerns. In constant critical engagement with the whole range of contemporary scholarship Holland maps out for himself and his readers new ways of understanding Paul and offers new insights into a range of absolutely vital issues from justification to Christology, and new insights into Pauline texts from Romans to Colossians. Challenging, unsettling and infuriating Dr Holland’s tour de force cannot be ignored’

Dr Peter Head University of Cambridge, UK

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