Paul Behaving Badly: Was the Apostle a Racist, Chauvinist Jerk?

E. Randolph Richards and Brandon J. O’Brien. InterVarsity, $16 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-0-8308-4472-2
Responding to examinations of the apostle Paul that paint him as racist and sexist, Richards and O’Brien (Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes) admit Paul’s writings can be hard to take, especially those letters ordering slaves to obey masters and women to remain silent. But the authors maintain that Paul’s actions must be understood through the prism of his intended audience: the letters were addressed certain groups of people on singular, particular occasions. Richards and O’Brien place Paul under an admirable amount of scrutiny, but point out that Paul, a Jewish Roman citizen, guided churches through complicated problems during the first century and “we certainly shouldn’t expect him to act like a twenty-first century American.” On chauvinism, for example, the authors argue Paul’s writings are pro-women because he instructed rabbis to educate female students—radical views back then. In one of the most provocative chapters, the authors compare Paul’s approach to biblical interpretation to today’s standard interpretations and conclude that Paul wouldn’t be allowed to teach a seminary class on methodology. Well-versed scholars may not be surprised by the material, but lay readers taking a closer look at Paul will find this book illuminating and learn a lot about a man who played an integral role in shaping Christianity. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/12/2016
Release date: 11/01/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 978-0-8308-7332-6
Compact Disc - 978-1-68366-133-7
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