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Paul: His Story Paperback – 15 Sep 2005

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Product details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; New Ed edition (15 Sept. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199283842
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199283842
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 2 x 13.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 383,368 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


a very readable, lively, and engaging story (The Journal of Theological Studies)

'...combines depth of learning with wonderful evocations f past times and places, and brings Paul in all his contradictions and complexities convincingly alive.' (Susan Hill, The Spectator)

About the Author

Jerome Murphy-O'Connor OP was born in Cork, Ireland, and educated at the Christian Brothers College, Cork, and Castleknock College, Dublin. He entered the Irish Province of the Dominican order in September 1953 and, after studies at the the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in 1960. After he completed his doctorate, he researched the Dead Sea Scrolls at Heidelberg University, Germany, and New Testament theology at Tubingen University, Germany. Since 1967 he has been based at the Ecole Biblique et Archéologique Francaise, Jerusalem, where he is Professor of New Testament.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Peregrine Bluecher on 29 May 2011
Format: Paperback
Fr. Murphy O'Connor writes beautifully and brings both Paul and his times alive. He has obviously taken the trouble to tread in Paul's footsteps and sail in his wake, and can thus describe the sights which Paul saw and reflect upon what thoughts they might have prompted. These insights are backed by vast learning.

I have, however, a quibble. I appreciate that this is not meant to be the kind of book which bores the reader with academic argument, but I still feel that he has taken some strong positions which need defending. For example he does not even contemplate the possibility that Luke the Evangelist knew Paul personally. His view on the chronology - for example the date of the Jerusalem Council, is simply taken as read. I also feel that sometimes he is over-anxious to prove that he is more modern and liberal in outlook than might be expected of a Dominican priest. He does not have to trumpet the self-evident virtues of the New Testament women.

Four stars, then, not five; but I would still urge you to get a copy if you want to spend a few hours in the Mediterranean of the First Century.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Still Learning on 7 Jun. 2009
Format: Paperback
This very readable account of the background, conversion and ministry of St. Paul benefits from the expertise gathered in a lifetime of study by the writer, Jerome Murphy-O'Connor, but presented for the general reader. Enough background information is given to illuminate the facts but without becoming bogged down in academic argument. End-notes and a useful bibliography are available for those who wish to take their interest to the next level.
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By Ali on 31 Mar. 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Quite academic but still a good read. Was not described as ex-library stock however, so quite expensive as such. Good condition.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 18 reviews
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
The Search for the historical Paul of the New Testament 7 Oct. 2004
By C. Hutton - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Father Jerome Murphy-O'Connor, a respected Roman Catholic priest and New Testament scholar, has written his second work upon Paul in a decade. Utilizing his years living in Jerusalem & his personal knowledge of bibical Israel and the Mediterranean world that Paul inhabited, he has written a brief but engaging reconstruction of Paul's life and theology.

Father Jerome takes issue with traditional Pauline scholarship as he re-interprets Paul's letters and Luke's Acts of the Apostles. He advocates for a more worldly Paul and fills in the considerable gaps of his personal life with bold deductions (Paul's parents were slaves, Paul was married, his children later died in an accident, etc). His views on Paul's theology are more mainstream but fused with his knowledge of that era.

This book is geared toward the general reader and could be read in tandem with the recent publication of Bruce Chilton's "Rabbi Paul" which represents a more traditional outlook of Paul. For those readers wanting to dig deeper into Paul's life and theology, the earlier and more detailed works of Gunther Bornkamm and E.P. Saunders are still available.
26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
An excellent life- the place to start. 1 July 2004
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Paul will always remain an enigma. He was a complex, insecure man whose contradictions drove him into tortured eloquence. In many accounts of Paul's theology, however, one misses this. He is treated as if he had a coherent and worked out theology which laid down rules for all times. The greatest achievement of this biography is to show just how human Paul was and why one certainly should not give 'gospel truth' status to his letters. They were written in such a variety of circumstances and in response to so many different challenges (most of which remain unrecorded) that they can really be treated as only relevant to the immediate circumstances in which they were written. O' Connor knows his subject and , as is not always the case with writers on Paul, the world in which he lived backwards and so his portrait is compelling. In making Paul so human,Murphy O'Connor actually makes his achievement seem more rather than less remarkable. In short this book is a healthy antidote to the forbidding theological superstar image (created originally by the church fathers in the fourth century) that Paul is often given and much more credible as a result.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Nice Little Novel 19 July 2005
By Readalots - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Jerome Murphy-O'Connor offers here a nice little novel. Using Luke's Acts of the Apostles as his main road map, M-O sprinkles parts of St. Paul's New Testamental auto-biography through his story. (M-O begins by saying this book is offered in the wake of his more scholarly "Paul: A Critical Life". Perhaps this novel is a companion text for his earlier book.)

"Paul: His Story's" novelistic writing style makes its 239 (hardback) pages a quick read. M-O's scholarship, as usual, is noteworthy. Using an extensive endnotes section he, curiously, does not apply reference numbers through the text.

M-O's reconstruction of St. Paul's life is fascinating and illuminating. Certainly, much of the book's conjecture will invent discussion and inspire re-thinking of Pauline chronologies.

Although the book is well-founded in Scripture, there is little comment from beyond the New Testament sources for Paul. Patristic sources are practically all ignored. Also, M-O offers no comment on St. Paul's nuclear family (his wife and children) and only marginal hypothesis for his family of origin (page 2).

Knowing that history is often a best-guess enterprise, M-O tells a good story filling many gaps in Paul's life. M-O is original thinking about how, and which ways, Paul traveled. The book also proffers interesting analysis for biblical-geographical distances.

This book is recommendable to all who are interested in St. Paul and the world of Late Antiquity.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Paul His Story 21 Mar. 2009
By Cletus Blaes - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book should be manatory reading for all Religious teachers, priest nuns and laity who want to know more about Paul of Tarsus.I find myself re-reading to get the full understanding of this tough saintly man.
Readable and exciting 7 Jun. 2014
By John Kosinski - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A readable and exciting story of Paul's life that makes his personality and
motivation and challenges come alive. There are no footnotes, but the scholar
in Murphy-O'Connor cannot resist providing helpful end-notes in the final pages.
I would recommend this book to any serious reader who wants to come to know
not only Paul's story but his very human mind and heart.
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