Every few years, a scholar publishes some form of a Pauline theology. In your two-volume set you resist this endeavor. Why do you think it is problematic to try to map out a theology of Paul?
The ambition to construct a theology of Paul is inherently misguided—and therefore fatally flawed—for three basic reasons.
First, it assumes that Paul is a theologian whose letters represent expressions of his theology as an individual and distinctive set of ideas. And since the expression of these ideas is dispersed through widely disparate letters, never appearing except partially and in passing, it is thought necessary to erect a systematic framework that can be seen as governing such diverse expressions.
But Paul is not a theologian. He is an apostle, a proclaimer of Jesus as Lord, a founder and pastor of communities. Responding in letters to the needs of such communities, he certainly shows himself to be a religious thinker, but there is no reason to suppose that Paul had a theology in the sense that we use the term. Paul worked out arguments in response to concrete circumstances. He certainly had deep convictions upon which he called as he thought through the implications of a commitment to a crucified and raised Messiah, but these convictions did not constitute an individual, distinctive, personal theology that was Paul’s alone.
"Although we may be opaque to each other, we are transparent to our creator." – Dr. Luke Timothy Johnson pic.twitter.com/AqTNACuAEe
— Candler Theology (@CandlerTheology) January 12, 2016