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Paul: The Mind of the Apostle Paperback – April 17, 1998
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From Library Journal
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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I would say that the subtitle is a little out of place because the book is not really about "the mind of the apostle." This is something that we can never hope to grasp, and Wilson acknowledges as much in his book. But a coherent picture of who Paul was and what he was all about does emerge from its pages. The book clearly sets him in opposition to James and Peter and the Jerusalem Jesus-movement and clearly details Paul's unique (although unintended) contribution to the birth of Christianity. It is hard to put the book down.
Several questions are not answered prehaps intentionally:
Why would Paul, a self declared Pharisee (Shammite) be in the employment of the Temple Guard, a group the Shammites viewed as compromised and corrupt?
Why did Paul speak of his Damascus experience as a resurrection citing, meaning physical body appearance, instead of using language to denote it as the "vision" Wilson suggests? Pharisees would have used language like angel or ghost to descibe a vision, Paul was transformed not because he had a vision of Jesus, but because he saw a resurrected Jesus. Wilson apparently misses the distinction, but it would not be missed by a Pharisee. Visions can happen anytime, resurrection carried a definate implication that YHWH was finally acting through the promised Messiah. This is what changed Paul's life.
I won't go into the other yarns (like Paul may not have even been Jewish) because I don't want to be too harsh on a book that deserves a critical read. Read it, but be sure to read some Marcus Borg, N.T. Wright, Meier, Schweitezer, Wenham, Witherington to round out the survey.
Wilson is an engaging writer and makes a lot of illuminating observations. For example, describing the Temple as an "abattoir" sounds disrespectful at first glance, until you consider just what was happening to all those doves, lambs, goats, and heifers people brought in. This is an easily read book that is hard to put down.
But far too often Wilson builds his arguments on decidedly shaky foundations. On one page he will openly speculate and 20 pages later he treats that speculation as proven truth. And this happens again and again. This habit constitutes a major flaw of the book.
Surprisingly, Wilson seems most comfortable analyzing the theology of the "authentic" letters. And, while he is sceptical of Jesus' divinity, he can not help but wonder how a "simple Galilean exorcist and faith healer" exerted such an influence on his countrymen.
Perhaps this is best read from the library or as a used book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is the very best Sunday School class on Christianity I have ever had the privilege of reading. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Lyn Wilhelm
I'm going to be nice and give it four stars, because it does include a lot of information and I did learn something new. A.N. Read morePublished 10 months ago by TalkALot
Historical facts about the time period and lives during Paul's life.Published 11 months ago by WilliePooh
A. N. WILSON :
wiki quote: In the late 1980s, he publicly stated that he was an atheist and published a pamphlet Against Religion in the Chatto & Windus CounterBlasts series;... Read more
Wilson truly explains the man and his mission.
First by selling tents, then becoming a young rabbi, and finally selling the world's most popular religion. Read more
I have just read all the reviews of this book and I found all of them helpful . After reading the book I felt the need to see my priest and address the issues the critics have... Read morePublished on October 25, 2013 by Louis Tringali