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Paul: The Mind of the Apostle


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'A splendidly readable book, and one which will find many readers' Daily Telegraph

About the Author

A.N. Wilson is an award-winning novelist and biographer. He is the author of the bestselling Jesus, which caused a sensation when it was published in 1992. Equally controversial, Paul, is stimulating, scholarly and highly readable. A.N. Wilson's novels include The Healing Art (Somerset Maugham Award), Wise Virgin (W.H. Smith Award) and the five books in The Lampitt Chronicles. His biographies include studies of Jesus, Sir Walter Scott (John Llewellyn Rhys Prize) and John Milton, as well as of Tolstoy (Whitbread Award for Biography), C.S. Lewis and Hilaire Belloc. He lives in North London.


In this sequel to his Jesus: A Biography, British novelist and biographer Wilson uses established scholarship and a writer's eye for the details of time, place, relationships and politics to render Paul as the lonely architect of a new religion. According to Wilson, Paul was the originator of Christianity "if we take that word to refer to the set of beliefs normally regarded as Christian-belief in the Divine Savior and his resurrection, belief in the Eucharist." Wilson's Paul is a man "wracked by self-contradiction." Before his famous "apocalypse" on the road to Damascus, Paul was a well-off tent supplier to the Roman legions and a temple guard who may have witnessed, or even participated in, Jesus' execution. Wilson defends Paul against charges of misogyny and obsession with carnal sin, and he suggests Christianity has become "an institutionalized distortion of Paul's thought." Sometimes, it's difficult to judge whether Wilson is praising Paul as a "prophet of liberty" who brought Jesus' message to a wide audience or criticizing Paul for distorting Jesus' identity. Even so, Wilson's integration of history, analysis and speculation provide a fascinating prism through which to view Paul's peripatetic life and copious writings. (Apr.)

Having produced a biography of Jesus (Jesus, LJ 9/1/92), Wilson now gives us a biography of Paul, who took Jesus's movement into the wider world. Paul's missionary activity spread Christianity to many places in the Roman Empire, and his writings occupy a significant portion of the New Testament. Wilson argues, as do many others, that without Paul there would be no Christianity. He reminds us that some of the greatest Christian thinkers‘e.g., Augustine, Luther, Calvin‘were especially dependent on Paul's theology. Wilson's book finds its place among the many on Paul because it effectively puts Paul in historical and social context and because of its probe of the psychological and social forces affecting Paul. Though scholarly, Wilson's book can easily be read by the informed. Highly recommended.‘John Moryl, Yeshiva Univ. Libs., New York

One of the greatest strengths of Wilson's book is that it reveals the extent of our ignorance about the origins of Christianity -- Karen Armstrong * The Times *
Characteristically clever and urbane, informed and entertaining * Daily Telegraph *
[Wilson] has read widely and exhaustively, and it is particularly strong on the political and historical background. He writes vividly and well and brings his novelist's gift to bear what is, in part, a detective story * Sunday Times *
Brilliant...his knowledge of the first century AD is prodigous * Spectator *
A.N. Wilson - novelist, ex-Anglican and unrepentant agent provocateur - spares no pious blushes in his new study of Saint Paul. His theory is stated in confrontational style but elegantly and accessibly put... This book is designed to raise eyebrows, but its resounding success at translating high-minded and often opaquely phrased ecclesiastical debate into a popular format should be applauded * Independent *

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