The Gospel According to Paul: The Creative Genius Who Brought Jesus to the World

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9780060730666: The Gospel According to Paul: The Creative Genius Who Brought Jesus to the World
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In this compelling portrait of Paul the man, his message, and his world, Robin Griffith-Jones reveals the apostle as a brilliantly entrepreneurial witness to the transforming presence of Jesus himself. This groundbreaking book unlocks Paul′s letters, revealing their purpose and power as never before.

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Paul of Tarsus is one of the most controversial apostles--a man who began his religious life as a passionate adversary of Christianity and wound up being one of its most passionate evangelists. Robin Griffin-Jones, a Christian scholar who previously taught the New Testament at Oxford University, attempts to answer many of the questions surrounding the "real" Paul. Some teachings have heralded Paul as the salvation of Christianity--having traveled thousands of miles across the Roman Empire, founding churches and spreading the "good news" wherever he went. He is also accused of embodying much of Christianity's shadow side--anti-Semitism, homophobia, misogyny, and a fanatical insistence upon converting others. In this 510-page character study, Griffith-Jones promises to get inside the head of the enigmatic Paul and offer a plausible interpretation of his motives and spiritual evolution. He argues that Paul was foremost an intensely devout seer and that much of the darker accusations were taken out of context. "This book is the story of arguments bitterly contested between different missionaries and different churches. Paul was in the thick of them. The conduct of these arguments is as gripping as their content. They throw into sharp relief the questions that still face any community growing in numbers and independence." Although Griffith-Jones excels in setting this historical context, he seems overly enamored with the visionary qualities of Paul's life and the poetic vibrancy of his letters, calling into question his ability to objectively present this complex apostle. The jacket cover dangles disturbing accusations against Paul in front of readers, but the author rarely addresses them directly. Unfortunately, Griffin-Jones's prose is often convoluted and he tends to jump about in time and focus, making this a challenging as well as unsatisfying read. --Gail Hudson

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Robin Griffith-Jones taught New Testament for several years at Oxford University and is currently a visiting lecturer at King's College, London University. He serves in one of the most historic positions in the Anglican Church, that of Master of the Temple in London, the famous church of the Knights Templar (www.templechurch.com). Griffith-Jones is the author of The Four Witnesses (on the four gospels), The Gospel According to Paul, and The Da Vinci Code and the Secrets of the Temple.

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