This is a sort of companion book to Wilson's "Jesus" but is actually the better of the two. As a biographer, Wilson has great gifts, but as a Biblical exegesist he's just an enthusiastic amateur. This book, then, plays to Wilson's strengths, which are a profound ability to empathise with spiritual and psychological conflicts and a great imaginative grasp of the period. Wilson certainly brings the 1st century Mediterranean world to life and the book is full of interesting asides, anecdotes and literary allusion. Wilson also seems to _like_ Paul (something few Christians could boast of) and is content to explore and tease out the many contradictions in his personality and history without imposing some theological agenda on the matter. As with "Jesus" this is not a book for Bible-based Christians, who will dislike having the omissions, evasions or outright fabrications of Scripture pointed out to them, but it's a book terrifically sympathetic to Christianity, though refusing to be sentimental about its origins. Terrific.