Yesterday I had a lengthy conversation with Dr. Michael Barber of the Augustine Institute in Denver, CO. We talked about his new book Paul, A New Covenant Jew: Rethinking Pauline Theology, the Apostle Paul himself, Paul’s letters and theology, and why Paul is meaningful to Catholics, Protestants, and even non-Christians.
Some parts the video are a bit choppy due to Internet connection. For that, I apologize. But overall it’s a great conversation that I hope y’all enjoy.
Here are the questions I asked Dr. Barber during our interview:
- Tell us why I’m talking to you about the Apostle Paul. What does Paul have to do with your research?
- Can you provide a short biography of Paul? Who was he? Why is he important? What does he have to do with the eventual shape of Christianity?
- A couple weeks ago my students encountered the Resurrection Narratives of the Gospels. Soon they’ll read Paul’s explanation of the resurrection from his First Epistle to the Corinthians. Additionally, they have a basic understanding of Jewish apocalypticism. Can you connect Jesus’ resurrection, apocalypticism, and Paul’s worldview together for us?
- Many of my students have spent time learning about the Abrahamic and Mosaic Covenants. As you explain in your book Paul, a New Covenant Jew (co-authored with Brant Pitre and John A. Kincaid), Paul values these covenants but he interprets then in relation to the ‘New Covenant’. What’s this New Covenant and what does it have to do with the Abrahamic and Mosaic Covenants?
- What’s central to Paul’s theology? What’s the the core of his thought?
- While I teach at an Episcopal high school the religious-majority is Catholic. You’re a Catholic scholar. What’s one thing you wish Catholics understood better about Paul? And then let’s flip it around and tell me what’s one thing you wish Protestants understood better about Paul?
- Finally, what’s the relevance of Paul for my students who aren’t religious or who come from religious traditions other than Christianity? Is there anything in Paul’s thought that they can find valuable?