Faculty publication: The New Perspective on Grace: Paul and the Gospel after Paul and the Gift

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Co-edited by Dr. Stephen Chester, Professor of New Testament at Wycliffe College, and other accomplished scholars, the newly published volume, The New Perspective on Grace: Paul and the Gospel after Paul and the Gift, is a festschrift in honour of John Barclay's 2015 monograph, Paul and the Gift, which is widely regarded as the one of the most important books on Paul to appear in recent decades. This volume is unique among most celebratory volumes: every essay responds to a different aspect of Barclay's book instead of containing miscellaneous essays.

"I got involved [in this project] because the scholar being honored by the volume on the occasion of his sixty-fifth birthday is my own doctoral supervisor, John Barclay. John teaches at the University of Durham but was at the University of Glasgow when I was his student."

Professor Chester has also contributed an essay in the volume which focuses on John Calvin’s interpretation of Ephesians 2:8-10, where salvation is described as “the gift of God.” The title of the essay, “Works Themselves Are a Part of Grace” is a quotation from Calvin’s commentary on Ephesians. They sum up his concern to argue on the basis of the text that even the works we do in response to the gospel are not independently our own but are instead themselves part of what God gives to us.

"I was excited to get involved in this project both as the author of an essay and as an editor of the volume in order to honor John Barclay but also to take further discussion of the important insights he offers in Paul and the Gift," says Professor Chester. "John argues that Paul’s perspective on grace is distinctly different from that of other ancient authors. For other ancient authors grace is something that should be bestowed on those equipped to make good use of its benefits, but Paul thinks that in Christ the grace of God is incongruous. It is given to those who are unworthy." 



Over the course of his academic career, John M. G. Barclay has transformed how we think about Paul. Barclay’s contributions to Pauline Studies reached a new height with the publication of his award-winning Paul and the Gift, in which he presents a sophisticated reading of Paul’s theology of grace within the context of gift-giving in the Greco-Roman world. But where does Pauline scholarship go from here?

Featuring a diverse group of internationally renowned scholars, The New Perspective on Grace collects essays inspired by Barclay’s magnum opus. These essays broadly explore the implications of grace and gift across a variety of fields: biblical studies, theology, reception history, and theology in practice. Topics include:

     •Paul’s soteriology 
     •The role of grace in Paul’s life and ministry 
     •Implications of the New Perspective on Paul 
     •Divine giving in the Gospels 
     •Gift-giving and Christian aesthetics 
     •Interpretations of Pauline grace from the patristic period to the present 
     •Self-giving and self-care 
     •Grace and ministry in marginalized communities
The New Perspective on Grace is essential reading for all students and scholars who want to understand the current state of Pauline scholarship.