THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO PAUL: The Creative Genius Who Brought Jesus to the World

Robin Griffith-Jones, Author . Harper San Francisco $24.95 (528p) ISBN 978-0-06-009656-4

Famous for his controversial teachings on the role of women in the church, his views on homosexuality and his harsh words for the Jews, Paul of Tarsus remains a bit of an enigma for modern Christians. Converted on the road to Damascus while on his way to persecute Christians, Paul became the most faithful follower of the risen Jesus and the most vigorous proselytizer of non-Christians. In a rather workmanlike and repetitious spiritual psychobiography of the Apostle, Griffith-Jones searches for the reasons for Paul's mission and the explanations for his teachings. As he argues over and over again, Paul was a seer, much like Isaiah, Ezekiel and Enoch. Paul famously experienced an apocalyptic moment of insight when he was taken up into "the third heaven," as recounted in 2 Cor. 12:2. This experience, according to Griffith-Jones, became the filter through which Paul understood his entire life and work. For Griffith-Jones, Paul "re-presents" the Anointed (Jesus) and his glory, and thus the members of Paul's churches were transformed by the Anointed's re-presentation in Paul. Griffith-Jones's writing can at times be convoluted ("The re-presentation of Jesus, the life of heaven and the transformation of converts within the course of the letter itself" is one verbless and opaque complete sentence). His tendency to shift between present and past tense and his unremarkable insights about Paul combine for a tedious exercise in spiritual biography. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 02/23/2004
Release date: 04/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 544 pages - 978-0-06-073066-6
Hardcover - 496 pages - 978-0-06-072860-1
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