Wayne Coppins, The Interpretation of Freedom in the Letters of Paul

2009. Coppins, Wayne. The Interpretation of Freedom in the Letters of Paul: With Special Reference to the ‘German’ Tradition. WUNT II/261. Tübingen: Mohr (paperbackonline; Freedom Publications).

“the revised version of this doctoral thesis … is a fine study … one admires the objective, balanced and patient way in which the positions of the different authors are explained and then critically examined … in its well-defined way this monograph certainly advances the exploration of freedom in Paul.” — Jan Lambrecht, Theologische Literaturzeitung 135 (2010), pp. 831-833

“In respectful and detailed disagreement with a range of German language authors … Coppins argues cogently that Paul may well prompt us to construct our own coherent and encompassing concepts of Christian ‘freedom’, but [that Paul] does not himself provide any such for us.” — Gerald F. Downing, Journal for the Study of the New Testament 32 (2010), p. 77.

“Coppins is to be commended for this work. Too often the voices of German scholarship are relegated to the footnotes of dissertations. Here, however, we are given an example of the value of listening not only to the voice of one German scholar, but to a whole conversation from that sector of the academic community. Further studies would do well to emulate Coppins in this sense. Coppins’ work is first-rate and his evaluations should prove valuable for those interested in both the findings of German scholarship and the topic of freedom in Paul.”Derek Brown, The Expository Times 121 (2010), p. 175.

“Wayne Coppins will das Freiheitsverständnis des Paulus exegetisch herausarbeiten und darüber das Gespräch mit Martin Luther und der deutschsprachigen Paulusexegese des 20. Jh. suchen. Dabei verfolgt er ein hehres Ziel: Ihm geht es – anders als vielen Vertretern der New Perspective – nicht von vornherein um Kritik, sondern auch um die Würdigung deutschsprachiger Exegese angesichts ihrer gegenwärtigen Marginalisierung in der internationalen Bibelwissenschaft (4f.).” — Hans Joachim Stein, Luther 81 (2010): 56-57.

“the chief value of C.’s study may be its partial rehabilitation of the German Lutheran tradition in the eyes of some Anglophone scholars. For, although C. does not endorse the tradition wholesale, he argues that such a notion of ‘freedom’ may be a legitimate constructive development of Paul’s thought. At the very least C. encourages us to engage with the long tradition of German scholarship at a time when English-language scholars find it much too easy to dismiss. As for C.’s own work, it remains an important contribution for scholars and advanced students of Paul’s thought, and one that repays careful reading.” — Ian W. Scott, Catholic Biblical Quarterly 73 (2011), pp. 854-855.

” In addition to its precision, an important contribution from this work is its affirmation that exegesis does not appear in a vacuum because interpretation of biblical texts is influenced by the context of its interpreters. The explicit engagement of the German tradition helpfully recognizes this influence and builds bridges between both Anglophone and German scholarship.” — Ben Blackwell, Religious Studies Review 38/4 (2012), 240.