IN SEARCH OF PAUL: How Jesus' Apostle Opposed Rome's Empire with God's Kingdom

John Dominic Crossan, Author, Jonathan L. Reed, Author . Harper San Francisco $29.95 (464p) ISBN 978-0-06-051457-0

Crossan and Reed make a compelling case for the idea that culture, politics and quest for empire played as large a part in the formation of the Apostle Paul as did theology and religious training. It is an approach that will leave some wondering just how much of a role spirituality played in the Paul story. The authors (Crossan is a prolific author and former co-chair of the Jesus Seminar, Reed is Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins at La Verne College in California) dig deeply into the history and archeology of Paul's world, searching for an understanding of the enigmatic apostle. Paul emerges as a fervent advocate for both the uniqueness of the Christian faith and the marginalization of others, the triumph of the City of God over the pagan and anti-God Roman empire. And this Paul is willing to reach out to both Jew and Gentile to accomplish his aims. In the end, Paul the man of faith is subsumed in Paul the agenda-driven revolutionary. The authors' masterful use of history, geography and theology combine to offer a strong case for their thesis. This book is written for a sophisticated audience, and therefore will be inaccessible to many readers, but it will be a valuable addition to the scholar's library. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 10/11/2004
Release date: 11/01/2004
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