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Paul the Traveller: Saint Paul and his World Kindle Edition
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An Amazon Book with Buzz: "The Four Winds" by Kristin Hannah
"A timely novel highlighting the worth and delicate nature of Nature itself." -Delia Owens Learn more
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About the Author
--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B00J84KOJ6
- Publisher : Open Road Media (April 1, 2014)
- Publication date : April 1, 2014
- Language : English
- File size : 635 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 288 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 1497637953
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #220,430 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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"[King] Agrippa remarked when he left the hall, 'This man [Paul] could certainly have been released if he had not appealed to the Emperor.'"
In her popular "A History of God," Karen Armstrong calls Paul 'the true founder of Christianity': "Jesus had simply wanted to found a godly state and when his messianic mission had failed he had died in despair...in the Gospels Jesus never claimed that he had come to atone for the sins of mankind. That idea, which had become central to Western Christendom, could only be traced to St. Paul, the true founder of Christianity."
The dusty, boring 'Acts' of my Methodist childhood suddenly came to brilliant life in this book. Paul was "born a Pharisee, became a persecutor of Christians, and then had his extraordinary vision on the road to Damascus. Since that moment he had devoted his whole life to setting up communities throughout Asia and Greece where both Jews and Gentiles had adopted the belief that a man called Joshua had indeed been not only the chosen of God, but the son of God."
I've already recommended "Paul the Traveller" to an Episcopalian friend of mine, and she enjoyed it as much as I did. Now, I'm recommending it to readers of this review. Even if you don't consider yourself a Christian, the vivid descriptions of the lands and people that Paul visited (interspersed with multiple shipwrecks) make this book a uniquely interesting First Century travelogue.
As a general overview, I don't know the author's personal religious views, but this is written from a secular and humanist perspective. At times he attempts to present a few different arguments or debates on a matter, but they are mostly secular viewpoints and not once is any attempt of the role of the power of the Holy Spirit or the sovereignty of God a matter to be considered. Even though he feigns to present multiple (secular) scholarly viewpoints, after random philosophical meandering, he often concludes with his own opinion based solely on speculation and conjecture.
The first example of this is Paul's conversion on the road to Damascus. The author himself seems to conclude that it was a matter of an epileptic fit and then proceeds to apply that narrative to the rest of the story. Note that the author never mentions 2 Corinthians 12:2, Paul's "vision" where he is "caught up to the third Heaven." My guess is that this very important spiritual vision would throw a wrench in his epilepsy theory. 1 Corinthians 15:14 puts a pretty clear end cap on the whole matter being looked at from a humanist perspective: "And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain." The author applies only the teachings that fit his narrative, and so you won't find a mention of 1 Cor 15:14 either.
Additionally, the majority of the book is more focused on the Roman and Pagan culture of the time. As a person who enjoys history, I understand the value in setting that scene. However, there is so much of it, that you feel you are mostly reading a book about the deviant acts of Roman Emperors and pagan cults. I nearly lost it when, after spending an exhaustive amount of time discussing the perversions of the Emperor Tiberius, the author then concludes that Paul and Tiberius were similar in personality.
Two thirds into the book, we finally actually get into Paul's journey. Then we find a personality comparison to Lenin - based mostly on looks and mental fortitude. The antagonist of the book is definitely the Jewish Orthodox, and while he adds some Jewish historical perspective to this, it really is lacking. We do get some glimpses of Peter, James, and of course Paul's companions. Again though, the author inserts his own speculation on the characters of these people, without a studied understanding of the work of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Overall, it seemed that the author had a far greater understanding of Ancient Greek and Roman culture than he actually did about Paul, Christianity, Jesus, or even Jewish culture, and this definitely shows. If you are interested in a study of Roman or Greek culture, there are many better books to find on the topic. If you are interested in a study of Paul, there are many better books to find on the topic (The Bible, to start). In the meantime, The Bible Project has a really great set of videos on the Pauline Epistles. This will give you a good start on your journey to understanding the apostle Paul.
The Mediterranean in Paul's time already possessed millennia old cults, sophisticated philosophers and was rich in antiquity pauls mission was transformative: to ensure christianitys distinct message of charity and lovingkindness was available for all humanity. Came away with much deeper context and broad perspective of both the evolution of chriustianiuty and the benefit to western civilzation of the pax romana.