Read online or Download St. Paul: The Apostle We Love to Hate (Full PDF ebook with essay, research paper)
by Karen Armstrong
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St. Paul is known throughout the world as the first Christian writer, authoring fourteen of the twenty-seven books in the New Testament. But as Karen Armstrong demonstrates in St. Paul: The Apostle We Love to Hate, he also exerted a more significant influence on the spread of Christianity throughout the world than any other figure in history. It was Paul who established the first Christian churches in Europe and Asia in the first century, Paul who transformed a minor sect into the largest religion produced by Western civilization, and Paul who advanced the revolutionary idea that Christ could serve as a model for the possibility of transcendence. While we know little about some aspects of the life of St. PaulвЂ”his upbringing, the details of his deathвЂ”his dramatic vision of God on the road to Damascus is one of the most powerful stories in the history of Christianity, and the life that followed forever changed the course of history.
Bestselling author Armstrong (A History of God), a fellow of the Jesus Seminar, constructs a solid overview of the life of St. Paul, arguably the first Christian writer. Armstrong's view of Paul elevates him above the status of traveling Jewish malcontent; she observes that he founded multiple communities of Jesus' followers throughout Asia and Europe. While not all of these communities lasted, some went on to become the initial Christian churches. Armstrong bases her study on the seven letters that most scholars agree were actually written by Paul, and she does these justice in her analysis. This book is a part of the Icons series; it is short and focused, and only has space to consider some of the details of Paul's life. Armstrong does an excellent job of highlighting the pivotal role Paul played in the development of the movement that would later become the Christian church, while also showing how his writings have been both ignored and co-opted by Christians. (Sept.)
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