Paul and Jesus: How the Apostle Transformed Christianity

James Tabor, Author
James D. Tabor. Simon & Schuster, $26 (320p) ISBN 978-1-4391-2331-7
Audio Product - 978-1-4676-5161-5
Compact Disc - 978-1-4526-0508-1
Compact Disc - 978-1-4526-3508-8
Paperback - 291 pages - 978-1-4391-2332-4
MP3 CD - 978-1-4526-5508-6
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In this compulsively readable exploration of the tangled world of Christian origins, Tabor (The Jesus Dynasty) vividly recreates the frenetic and fraught attempts by the earliest followers of Jesus to maintain his teachings and keep his memory alive. The followers of James, who was the brother of Jesus and likely the author of the New Testament letter that bears his name, continued to live as Jews, observing Torah and worshipping in the Jerusalem Temple while honoring Jesus as their martyred Teacher and Messiah. This group was quickly displaced by Paul, whose theological teachings on the forgiveness of sins through the blood of Christ; the gift of eternal life guaranteed by faith in Jesus’ resurrection from the dead; and a glorified heavenly reign with Christ when he returns reached a larger, non-Jewish audience because of the more philosophical language and nature. Although Paul has long been acknowledged as the founder of Christianity, Tabor weaves a fascinating story out of close readings of Paul’s letters and the book of Acts, which contains an idealized history of the early movement as well as Paul’s earliest activities on behalf of his teachings, and compellingly illustrates the ways that Christianity is Paul and Paul is Christianity. (Nov.)
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