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Map: The World of Paul ix
Timeline of Major Events and Figures xi
Preface: Discovering Paul xv
Introduction: Paul and Jesus 1
1 Christianity Before Paul 23
2 Rethinking Resurrection of the Dead 48
3 Reading the Gospels in the Light of Paul 68
4 Last but Not Least 91
5 A Cosmic Family and a Heavenly Kingdom 108
6 A Mystical Union with Christ 130
7 Already But Not Yet 157
8 The Torah of Christ 176
9 The "Battle of the Apostles" 203
Appendix: The Quest for the Historical Paul 227
Posted November 20, 2012
This superb, well written book carefully shows just how different Paul’s religion was from that of Jesus and his first followers. Paul, of course, never met the Jesus of history and his unique theology was built upon an on-going mystical relationship with the Christ figure who, he said, spoke in and through him. In accordance with what Christ conveyed to him, Paul abandoned Judaism and embraced a universal perspective. He saw in Christ’s death the makings of a new humanity. As Tabor writes, “At the core of the mystery announcement that Paul reveals is God’s secret plan to bring to birth a new heavenly family of his own off-spring.” That’s a major contribution to our understanding of Paul’s message.
Those seriously interested in understanding how Christianity developed will find the chapters on Resurrection, the Cosmic Family and the Torah of Christ particularly fascinating. Resurrection, for instance, has been much misunderstood. It isn’t a matter of physical resuscitation, not a coming back to life of this body and certainly not immortality of the soul. As Paul sees it, resurrection is nothing less than a whole new creation, a new embodiment, a creative act by God who restores life to a reconstituted person after death.
Don’t miss the Appendix -- the Quest for the Historical Paul -- which contrasts the Paul of his own letters with the historical revisionism of the much later Book of Acts. We now have a number of quests on our hands ... the long-standing one, for the historical Jesus, and now for the historical Paul and his contemporaries, the James and Peter of history.
A fascinating book, packed with illuminating insights. Highly recommended.
Barrie Wilson, PhD., Professor, Humanities and Religious Studies, Toronto, author How Jesus Became Christian.
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Posted June 27, 2013
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