What Paul Meant

What Paul Meant

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by Garry Wills
     
 

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“If you think you knew Paul, get ready to have all sorts of cherished preconceptions exhilaratingly stripped away. If you've ever been vaguely curious, there is no finer introduction.” (Los Angeles Times)
 
In his New York Times bestsellers What Jesus Meant and What the Gospels Meant, Garry

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Overview

“If you think you knew Paul, get ready to have all sorts of cherished preconceptions exhilaratingly stripped away. If you've ever been vaguely curious, there is no finer introduction.” (Los Angeles Times)
 
In his New York Times bestsellers What Jesus Meant and What the Gospels Meant, Garry Wills offers fresh and incisive readings of Jesus' teachings and the four gospels. Here Wills turns to Paul the Apostle, whose writings have provoked controversy throughout Christian history. Upending many common assumptions, Wills argues eloquently that Paul’s teachings are not opposed to Jesus' message. Rather, the best way to know Jesus is to discover Paul. In this stimulating and masterly analysis, Wills illuminates how Paul, writing on the road and in the heat of the moment, and often in the midst of controversy, galvanized a movement and offers us the best reflection of those early times.
 

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
 
Praise for What Paul Meant:
  
“With characteristic clarity and insight, Garry Wills has given us a vital study of the earliest voice in the New Testament.”
Jon Meacham, author of American Gospel
 
“The best description of how the Jesus movement emerged.”
—Andrew M. Greeley, author ofThe Catholic Revolution

“A tour de force revision of what we thought we knew about the apostle who helped give the Christian faith its distinctive shape.”
Slate.com
 
“With this bracing book . . . [Wills] further cements his reputation as one of the most intellectually interesting and doctrinally heterodox Christians writing today.”
The New York Times Book Review
 
“Wills writes more gracefully and economically than scholarly authors in this gem of a book.”
The Boston Globe
 
“A fascinating read, worth examining by anyone with an open mind and an interest in Christianity and its most prolific early voice.”
BookPage
 
“Lucid . . . Wills is not a biblical scholar, but he is a voracious reader and an eloquent writer who makes judicious use of the best recent scholarship.”
The Washington Post

“Everybody should be as lucky as St. Paul. Not only did he have a transformative spiritual experience and become a founder of one of the world’s greatest religions, but two thousand years later he has Garry Wills to explain, interpret and defend him. . . . One could hardly wish for a more capable advocate than Wills.”
Chicago Tribune
 
“A bracing book of spiritual commentary [by] one of this country’s leading public intellectuals and American Catholicism’s most formidable lay scholar.”
Los Angeles Times
 

Gary Wills
With this bracing book, Wills, who continues to call himself a Catholic, further cements his reputation as one of the most intellectually interesting and doctrinally heterodox Christians writing today. By argument or by implication, he manages to reject the legitimacy and authority not only of the papacy and the rest of the Catholic hierarchy but also of the early church councils, the church fathers and even, in many instances, the Gospels themselves. In their place he substitutes spontaneous devotion to God and neighbor — and commitment to the politically subversive view that “love is the only law.” So much for Christianity necessarily serving as a handmaiden of conservative politics.
— The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

Wills builds on the popularity of his bestseller What Jesus Meantin this audio version of his newest book. The apostle Paul's teachings have caused controversy almost from the minute he penned the letters to the first-century churches he helped found. His influence on church history and doctrine is incontrovertible, but his words have often provoked anger and dissension. Wills, who writes from the Catholic tradition, carefully reveals Paul's meaning by taking listeners back to the teaching of Jesus Christ to prove that Paul's words didn't contradict, but in fact explain and expound on Christ's. Wills's precise diction and preacherlike narration add to the listening experience. He sometimes moves too quickly between chapters and sections—listeners need a bit more time to adjust—and he occasionally reads quickly as well. But haste aside, listeners can't help appreciating Wills's voice, his scholarship and his conclusions. Simultaneous release with the Viking hardcover (Reviews, Sept. 11). (Dec.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal
Pulitzer Prize winner Wills (history, emeritus, Northwestern Univ.; Lincoln at Gettysburg) is a popular Catholic observer of religion. In What Jesus Meant, he ventured to spell out his reading of Christian origins. His new work follows on that book's heels, presenting Apostle Paul as the earliest and most reliable witness to the historical Jesus and his mission and constructing a chronology that views the New Testament Book of Acts as deeply flawed historically. For scholars, there will be few surprises, and the arguments for Wills's positions are too sketchy to be always persuasive. But for the general reader who wants to know what scholars are saying about Paul and early Christianity, the most important themes are highlighted the Jesus Movement's complex place within first-century Judaism; the pitfalls of harmonizing the Acts with Paul's letters; the ways Catholic/Protestant polemics have misread Paul's letter to the Romans and there are newer approaches to Paul's views on women and slavery. Wills hones in on what is at stake in complex arguments, makes the issues clear, and presents a compelling case for reading Paul with historical attentiveness. Recommended for all libraries. Steve Young, McHenry Cty. Coll., Crystal Lake, IL Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780143112631
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/25/2007
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
208
Sales rank:
351,384
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.76(h) x 0.57(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
 
Praise for What Paul Meant:
  
“With characteristic clarity and insight, Garry Wills has given us a vital study of the earliest voice in the New Testament.”
Jon Meacham, author of American Gospel
 
“The best description of how the Jesus movement emerged.”
—Andrew M. Greeley, author of The Catholic Revolution

“A tour de force revision of what we thought we knew about the apostle who helped give the Christian faith its distinctive shape.”
Slate.com
 
“With this bracing book . . . [Wills] further cements his reputation as one of the most intellectually interesting and doctrinally heterodox Christians writing today.”
The New York Times Book Review
 
“Wills writes more gracefully and economically than scholarly authors in this gem of a book.”
The Boston Globe
 
“A fascinating read, worth examining by anyone with an open mind and an interest in Christianity and its most prolific early voice.”
BookPage
 
“Lucid . . . Wills is not a biblical scholar, but he is a voracious reader and an eloquent writer who makes judicious use of the best recent scholarship.”
The Washington Post

“Everybody should be as lucky as St. Paul. Not only did he have a transformative spiritual experience and become a founder of one of the world’s greatest religions, but two thousand years later he has Garry Wills to explain, interpret and defend him. . . . One could hardly wish for a more capable advocate than Wills.”
Chicago Tribune
 
“A bracing book of spiritual commentary [by] one of this country’s leading public intellectuals and American Catholicism’s most formidable lay scholar.”
Los Angeles Times
 

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