Just last week Dominic has announced the publication in paperback of Kathy Ehrensperger’s volume on Paul and what a great welcome it has received from scholarship!
I would like to draw your attention to another commendation of this volume, by Derek R. Brown, which has been published in the Expository Times:
‘In Paul and the Dynamics of Power, Ehrensperger’s focus is ‘the network of power within early Christianity’ rather than ‘power’ terminology or an ethics of power in Paul. In listening in on the early Christians’ conversation on power, Ehrensperger hopes to ‘stimulate and illuminate contemporary conversations’ on the dynamics of power in churches and societies (p.13). In the end, she contends that ‘the exercise of power within the early Christ-movement was guided by the Scriptures and the Christ-event’ and intended to empower others for a life of ‘response-ability’ to the call of God (p.15).
Following an overview of the contours of contemporary thought on power (chap 2), Ehresnperger addresses the relationship between power and networking in early Christianity (chap 3). She argues that Paul’s ‘discourse of grace’ was not a form of dominating power but rather a subversive one aimed at mutual empowerment (chap 4). Paul’s understanding of the authority and function of apostleship is then addressed (chaps 5 and 6). Ehrensperger next turns to Paul’s exercise of ‘transformative power’ as a teacher within his churches, a role which she argues was intended to teach the early Christians about Christ’s life (chaps 7 and 8) and empower them for a life of ‘response-ability’ (chap 9). Ehrensperger concludes by suggesting that this discourse of power is only made possible by trust which is rooted in the Scriptures and the character of God (chap 10).
Ehrensperger’s study is an excellent (re)consideration of the Pauline exercise of power in light of contemporary thought. Impressively, she takes seriously both the historical context of the early church and the language and concepts of recent studies on power (e.g. Derrida, Arendt and Foucault). The result is a well-balanced reading of the Pauline discourse of power which will benefit those interested in the social dynamics of early Christianity and Paul in general.’ – Derek R. Brown, School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh, UK
Paul and the Dynamics of Power is available to customers in the UK now and the customers in the US will be able to purchase this volume in July 2009.