Paul: The Mind of the Apostle Paperback – 5 Feb 1998
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"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)
'A splendidly readable book, and one which will find many readers' Daily TelegraphSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
In general I found it a very worthwhile read; we christians are perhaps too quick to see people like Paul in their biblical context, and forget that they were part of history too; part of the politics and culture of the Roman Empire, a relatively well-documented era of history. Wilson's book looks at Paul from this historical standpoint, in particular shedding light on Paul's vital role as 'apostle to the gentiles' by bridging the gulf between the Jewish mindset and the philosophy and customs of the rest of the first century Roman world.
He clearly likes Paul, and finds him intriguing, and this book strikes me as a very open-minded and honest attempt to understand Paul's outlook and milieu. I may not agree with all his conclusions - in particular I think it is a pity that he generally dismisses Luke's account in Acts since there is so much biographical information here, some of it witnessed at first-hand - however this book doesn't claim to be a devotional study of Paul and I am willing to accept that this is his genuine opinion as a historian; there is no fervent anti-christian bias here. If we only read books we agree with 100%, then our understanding of the world will be very limited.
In fact A.N.Read more ›
Wilson also prompts us to think more sympathetically about Paul's personality. He was neither the "saint" of church history nor the demon of anti-church history, but instead a flawed and self-contradicting human being like us: conservative in some things, progressive in others; a man in which an idealistic light battled the darkness of fear and ambition. Wilson also reminds us that without Paul's relentlessness and conviction the nascent Christian movement might well have come to nothing; it takes a forceful man to set a force in motion.
Finally, it's interesting to compare this book with Wilson's biography of Jesus. As good as that is this is better. Thinking about why that should be the case it seems to me that there's an element of self-identification going on: Wilson feels (I think) a certain kinship with the hard-to-love but passionately intelligent apostle.
While this is a great book I would only, however, recommend it as a beginners guide to Paul. There isn't much of a discussion of the contradictions between Paul's own writing, and his biography in Acts. For that you will have to look elsewhere.
In the end, this book reads like a novel - and it is highly enjoyable and extremely well written. Wilson is a master of the English language.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
When wilson calls this book the mind of the apostle he means it..So tedious I think that even a rabbanical student
would give up on it.. Read more
The rating was chosen because of the subject, plus the author is renowned for excellent prose, well worth reading., try it.Published on 29 July 2013 by J. Hawkey
I was extremely disappointed by the tone of A N Wilson's biography of Saint Paul as I am a fan of Wilson. Wilson refers to Christianity throughout as 'the Christian myth'. Read morePublished on 4 Jan. 2013 by Marilyninbrugge
A.N. Wilson sets out to explode the traditionally respected Apostle Paul. Unfortunatley Wilson sometimes asks for greater leaps of faith to believe his 'naturalistic'... Read morePublished on 15 Oct. 2008 by KC
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