Coming to grips with Christianity means coming to grips with Paul. There is no figure aside from Jesus himself who is more important to the history of this world religion, and no figure from the age of the early church about whom we know more or of whom we have a more rounded view. Historian Luke Timothy Johnson, the best-selling author of The Real Jesus, offers a fresh and historically grounded assessment of the life and letters of Christianity's "apostle to the Gentiles" in this 12-lecture series. "One of the most fascinating, important, and controversial figures in the religious history of the West, Paul the Apostle continues to find champions and detractors, sometimes in surprising places," says Professor Johnson. This course addresses many questions concerning Paul's embattled life and work: Is Paul the inventor of Christianity or part of a larger movement? Is he best understood from the Acts of the Apostles or from his letters? Why does he focus on the moral character of the community? How do his supporters and detractors depict him? You consider his letters to the Thessalonians, Corinthians, and Galatians. You explore his religious commitments as a member of the Pharisaic movement, his persecution of the Christian sect, the dramatic experience that changed him into an apostle, and his work as a missionary and church founder.
by Luke Timothy Johnson
by Timothy Taylor
by Timothy Spurgin
"Johnson's course is not intended to be the book on Paul, but rather an introduction--to open doors, not give final answers. He tries to pull Paul out of the halo of "holy writ" that has kept us from understanding him by presenting him within the context of his concerns and interests--building up the nascent Christian communities using the Greek rhetorical tools he possessed as a well-educated Jew of the Diaspora. Each of Paul's letters is viewed as its own response to a community crisis, not as a part of a theological system. Paul is, after all, an apostle, not a theologian. Like the best lecturers, Johnson piques interest by combining good organization with passion. He is easy to listen to; each half-hour lecture leaves the listener wanting more. P.E.F. (c) AudioFile 2004, Portland, Maine"
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