|Author||N. T. Wright|
I read this book in a little over a week, finishing last evening. It is classic N. T. Wright. He attempts to get into the psyche of the former zealous Pharisee to see what made him tick following his Damascus Road experience. Paul comes across as a loveable, but a sometimes prickly defender of God's Covenant People, now extended to include Gentile believers in Jesus. Paul, Wright contends, never left his Jewish roots, but he did understand them now in terms of Jesus as Messiah.
One of his passions was the absolute unity of Jew and Gentile in the one body of Christ with no distinctions between them. He abhorred the idea of two churches, one for Jews and one for Gentiles. The is perfectly aware of the sensibilities of each group but insisted that they respect each other and have full fellowship - down to table fellowship - with each other.
He also maintains that, following the example of Jesus, Paul gave high value to women. He cites the number of women Paul greeted in his salutations to the house churches in Rome, for example, including one whom he recognizes as an "apostle." He argues that Paul is not a misogynist, but that he elevated the place of women in society.
His final summation of the success of Paul's work is priceless. To me, the highlight of the book was in the final chapter. There he contends that Paul;'s emphasis on love and an outward look in the churches he established and nurtured was responsible for Christians establishing hospitals in the 2nd & 3rd centuries, as well as the development of education for a population that was virtually illiterate prior to the work of Paul. Even the technological advance from books on scrolls to codex format he attributes to Paul's extensive use of the Old Testament Scriptures and the consequent need to be able to thumb through instead of scroll through.BY:ebook777.com