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Paul and Jesus: How the Apostle Transformed Christianity Hardcover – November 13, 2012
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"A fresh, imaginative and insightful treatment of the original years of the Christian faith. It is not as we have been taught through the centuries. It is infinitely more complex and infinitely more exciting. James Tabor makes this clear.” (John Shelby Spong, author of Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World)
“This superb, well written book carefully shows just how different Paul’s religion was from that of Jesus and his first followers. . . .A fascinating book, packed with illuminating insights. Highly recommended.” (Barrie Wilson, Ph.D., Professor, Humanities and Religious Studies, York University, and author of How Jesus Became Christian)
Top Customer Reviews
In November 2012, the author of The Jesus Dynasty once again releases a book that is sure to challenge our thinking when it comes to Christian Origins. In his latest work, published by Simon and Schuster, James D. Tabor turns his academic attention to a thorough investigation of a particular way of defining and understanding Christianity. Of all the works he has published in more than thirty years as a Biblical scholar and historian of Christian origins, this may prove to be Tabor's most important contribution yet to our understanding of how and why we have come to believe the way we do. Tabor asserts and then sets out to prove that Catholics, mainstream Protestants and evangelicals have all inherited much of their Christianity, not through the teachings of Jesus but through the teachings of the Apostle Paul.
Even though this book may challenge readers, Tabor presents his convincing arguments in a way that is both respectful and sensitive. Tabor makes no excuses for Paul. For better or for worse, Tabor allows Paul to explain himself from his own words at every turn. He does this by carefully reporting facts taken from ancient sources and by examining and contrasting Christianity before and after Paul.
Tabor's work claims that Paul effectively transformed Christianity from a thoroughly Jewish sect into something that would have been altogether foreign to Jesus and his first followers. He shows that for Paul, there was no interest in "Jesus according to the flesh." Paul admittedly never met Jesus according to the flesh, but rather relates that in a series of visionary experiences or revelations, a "heavenly Christ" came to him with a message that would become his gospel.Read more ›
In this fascinating and revealing portrait of the Apostle to the Gentiles, Tabor makes it clear that not only did Paul never meet Jesus, he paid scant heed to the inheritors of Jesus' teaching: the apostles and brothers of Jesus. Instead, Paul based his entire "gospel" on his repeated, self-reported revelations that he claimed were of the risen Christ. As the author convincingly shows, Paul's unique message conflicted with that of Jesus' own disciples and led to open hostility and perhaps even to Paul's arrest and imprisonment in Rome.
Throughout this reevaluation of Paul, Tabor challenges us to understand that the New Testament is, with few exceptions, comprised of books that represent the Pauline teachings, not those of early Palestinian Jewish Christianity. All of them were written after Paul's letters were composed. This leads to some startling discoveries.Read more ›
". . . the message of Paul, which created Christianity as we know it, and the message of the historical Jesus and his earliest followers, were not the same. In fact, they were sharply opposed . . ."
Anyone reading the New Testament Gospels and Paul's Epistles critically knows that Tabor is correct. So, why will Paul and Jesus challenge the beliefs of millions of Christians? One reason can be traced back to the Niagara Bible Conference that published the "Five Points of Fundamentalism" in 1895. It stated the conference's conclusion that there are five essential beliefs required for one to be a Christian. One of those essential beliefs is "the inerrancy of Scripture" (meaning the Christian Bible). This belief became a cornerstone for fundamentalism and will be the obstacle standing between millions of Christians understanding the truth of Tabor's statement above - "the message of Paul created Christianity!"
Our beliefs about the Bible affect how we understand its words. If we believe everything in our Bible is the "inerrant Scripture," then our minds are forced to try and make everything we read in it agree - even when it clear that they don't. But, if we follow Tabor's method of viewing the words of each book in their textual and historical context, we find something very different.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have often been perplexed about the contradictions between the Pauline epistles and the rest of the bible. Read morePublished 1 month ago by D. L. Storm
It was a mind blowing revelation. Tabor does a great job in showing how the apostle Paul shaped Christianity. Even more than Jesus.Published 2 months ago by jj
Excellently written review on the likely thoughts and lives of Paul and Jesus. Well researched and well worth reading. Read morePublished 4 months ago by D. R. M. Chester
A wonderfully written book that I found difficult to put down. What this book greatly assisted me with is understanding Paul in his own context, making his letters come to life. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Abdul H. Saad
Appendix or Index item: summary of elements of present day Christianity identified with PaulPublished 4 months ago by Adrian P. Warnshuis
This book sets a very clear understanding of the New Testament. I often wondered why Jesus was so hard to find in Christianity. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Alan J. Bomberger
I've become quite a fan James Tabor. I own several of his books, and they are all outstanding, well written with great detail. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Paul Hosse