I just finished reading these two books on Paul: Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul by Richard B. Hays, and a collection of essays for the Cambridge Companion series, edited by James D. G. Dunn, entitled The Cambridge Companion to St. Paul. (SKS has a whole bookshelf just for books published by Cambridge U Press!)
Echoes of Scripture is the book that really would define Richard Hays, who now is well-known for his work on intertextuality in the Christian Scripture, particularly how Paul used the Old Testament in his writings. As what he has written in the first chapter of this book, or from the information given in a recent interview (a must read!), I think his undergraduate major in literature really shaped his thoughts (and thats why, if I ever pursue a career in biblical studies, my engineering background will be a major influence). From the interview we also learnt that currently he is working on a ‘companion’ volume to his Echoes of Scripture, now dealing with echoes in the Gospels. Really, really exciting and looking forward to read it (from the interview you will also learn that he is a good friend with N. T. Wright!).
The second book is a bit different. It is a collection of essays by various scholars on various topics on Paul, which was divided into four parts: Paul’s life and work, Paul’s letters, Paul’s theology, and the reception of Paul in the church through the centuries. As has been the case with a collection of essays, you will find some of them really engaging and some really putting you off. But, overall, it would be a good and comprehensive introduction to Paul. I really like the last part, particularly, where we would learn how Paul was received in the second century, Paul’s legacy in the church until today, and some contemporary approaches and perspectives on Paul.
Indeed, of making Paul books, there is no end. The least of the apostles would not have expected it, would he?