Synopses & Reviews
Paul is second only to Jesus as the most important person in the birth of Christianity, and yet he continues to be controversial, even among Christians. How could the letters of Paul be used both to inspire radical grace and to endorse systems of oppression—condoning slavery, subordinating women, and condemning homosexual behavior? Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan use the best of biblical and historical scholarship to explain the reasons for Paul's mixed reputation and reveal to us what scholars have known for decades: that the later letters of Paul were created by the early church to dilute Paul's egalitarian message and transform him into something more "acceptable." They argue that there are actually "Three Pauls" in the New Testament: "The Radical Paul" (of the seven genuine letters), "The Conservative Paul" (of the three disputed epistles), and "The Reactionary Paul" (of the three inauthentic letters). By closely examining this progression of Paul's letters—from the authentic to the inauthentic—the authors show how the apostle was slowly but steadily "deradicalized" to fit Roman social norms in regards to slavery, patriarchy, and patronage. In truth, Paul was an appealing apostle of Jesus whose vision of life "in Christ"—one of his favored phrases—is remarkably faithful to the message of Jesus himself.
"A refreshing and heartening exculpation of a still routinely maligned figure of the first importance to culture and civilization." ---Booklist Starred Review
Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan, bestselling authors of The Last Week and The First Christmas, join once again to present a new understanding of early Christianity—this time to reveal a radical Paul who has been suppressed by the church.
About the Author
Marcus J. Borg is the Hundere Distinguished Professor of Religion and Culture, Emeritus, at Oregon State University and Canon Theologian at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland, Oregon. He is the author of the bestselling Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, The Heart of Christianity, Reading the Bible Again for the First Time, The God We Never Knew, and Jesus. John Dominic Crossan is an emeritus professor of religious studies at DePaul University in Chicago. He is the author of several bestselling books, including God and Empire, The Historical Jesus, The Birth of Christianity, and Who Killed Jesus? He lives in Minneola, Florida. Mel Foster is a former ad agency executive who used to record test tracks for commercials. An audiobook narrator since 2002, he won an Audie Award for Finding God in Unexpected Places by Philip Yancey and an AudioFile Earphones Award for the novel Match Made in Heaven by Bob Mitchell. Mel is the author of several novels, including Shaking Hands with Lefkowitz, and he hopes that one day listeners will get the opportunity to hear him reading something that he's written himself.