In Praise of Brevity

In her response to N. T. Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God in Journal for the Study of Paul and his Letters (Spring 2014), Beverly Roberts Gaventa takes issue with the book’s massive size. She strikes a note in favor of succinctness that resonates with anyone attempting to read it.

Paul and the Faithfulness of God will attract a wide readership, especially among younger scholars who want to see how Wright’s earlier work is here consolidated and expanded. My closing remarks are addressed to them: please do not take either the size of this book or the tone of much of its argumentation as a model for your own work. It is possible to make even very important arguments with brevity. Wayne Meeks instructed an entire generation of students and scholars with The First Urban Christians, which comes in at a lean 299 pages. Richard Hays’s Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul has had an enormous impact on the study of Paul, with a concise 240 pages. A bigger book does not guarantee a better argument (p. 79).


2 responses to “In Praise of Brevity

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