Synopses & Reviews
Paul's conflict with viscous enemies, human and otherwise, led him to employ efficacious powers, charismata (charismatic powers), and controversial and sometimes illegal practices that are only coherent when placed in context of the first century Hellenistic-Roman world. These included soul and spirit transportation, possession, and exorcisms, special techniques to repel demonic attack, as well as what was considered the darkest of black magic in the ancient world--the casting of death curses, which called on Satan to infect, harm, and even kill his enemies. All of these can be recovered in striking detail using risk analysis of his undisputed writings and comparing them with contemporary sources, papyri, and documents independent of the New Testament. The results demonstrate that Paul's letters are so much more than simply intellectual and rhetorical correspondences--they are infused with dangerous mystical and charismatic powers feared in an ancient world that was saturated with prevalent, active dark forces and multi-layered human and supernatural conflicts; of angels and demons at war; of charismata and anathemata (deadly curses); and Paul's expectation of the hemera kuriou, ""Day of the Lord,"" that would defeat Satan and the curse of death via pistis (faith) in the efficacious euangelion (gospel) of agape (love). ""This work represents a new approach to the problem of Paul's opponents. If you are willing to hear what an intelligent, attentive, risk expert and sojourner has to say about these texts we know as familiar, and yet are still strange, I recommend this work and its author to you."" --Stephen J. Patterson, Willamette University ""Busse has an extensive background and expertise in the application of risk analysis. This new approach evaluates responses to risk evidenced in ancient texts when placed in their contemporary setting. I recommend this study and author to you."" --Paul Slovic, University of Oregon, President, Decision Research ""It happens rarely that someone who is well educated in a completely different field makes a serious effort to engage in Bible scholarship from the perspective of one's own discipline. Extending his use of risk assessment methods to the historical Jesus in his previous book, Busse now applies them to the problem of understanding Paul and his enemies. Offering a rich, textured reading of the historical Paul in his first century background, Busse succeeds in presenting Paul and the early church in their complexity."" --Loren Crow, PhD Roger S. Busse is a recognized specialist in risk analysis, and a graduate of Reed College and Harvard Divinty School. His awarded career has spanned over forty years, from CEO of a nationally recognized institution to SVP of risk administration. Busse is a certified management consultant, adjunct professor, and author of two industry texts, The Essentials of Commercial Lending and Business Profiles, and two books on risk analysis and Christian origins, To be Near the Fire and Jesus, Resurrected.