Saint Saul
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Saint Saul : A Skeleton Key to the Historical Jesus

3.86 (38 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

In Saint Saul, Donald Harman Akenson offers a lively and provocative account of what we can learn about Jesus by reading the letters of Paul. As the only direct evidence of Jesus we have that were composed before the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE forever altered the outlook of the Christian and Jewish faiths, Akenson claims that these letters are the most reliable source of information. He dismisses the traditional method of searching for facts about Jesus by looking for parallels among the four gospels because they were handed down to us as a unit by a later generation. Akenson painstakingly recreates the world of Christ, a time rich with ideas, prophets, factions, priests, savants, and god-drunk fanatics. He insistently stresses throughout the Jewishness of Jesus, referring to Jesus and Paul as Yeshua and Saul, as they were then known. Saul, although he did not know Yeshua personally, knew his most important followers, and wrote immediately after Yeshua's death. Saul's teachings were approved (though sometimes reluctantly) by Yeshua's brothers and other early leaders. As an eminent historian, Akenson approaches his subject with a fresh eye and a scholarly rigor that is all too rare in this hotly disputed field.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 364 pages
  • 154.94 x 233.68 x 25.4mm | 566.99g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195152387
  • 9780195152388
  • 1,345,793

Review quote

Saint Saul is resoundingly fresh in its current contributions to literature and, once again, Akenson has written of thorny and difficult questions with rollicking good humour and grace that reaches the depths of seriousness without false solemnity. Saint Saul is a splendid book. * T.F. Rigelhof * Akenson is able to penetrate to the heart of things in a manner that one can only envy. He writes vigorous and arresting prose, and is not afraid to go into the corners and mix it up. * Terence L. Donaldson, Lord and Lady Coogan Professor of New Testament Studies, University of Toronto and Author of Paul and the Gentiles * Saint Saul is a splendid book. In touch with the latest scholarship, elegantly written, original, and highly persuasive. The whole area of the early relations between Christianity and Judaism-i.e. in the first 3 or 4 centuries-is now in a state of complete turmoil and reconceptualization. It now seems clear that the borders between what we now think of as two religions were very blurred at that time, and that orthodox rabbinic Judaism was not at all the normative Judaism at the time of Jesus and thereafter. In all these cross-currents, this book by Akenson is a clearly presented argument that will surely advance and clarify the conversation. * Harvey Cox, Victor S. Thomas Professor of Divinity, Harvard University and Author of The Secular City and Fire From Heaven * From his double-take title through more than 300 zestful pages, Donald Akenson startles us with one fresh insight after another...Saint Saul is an engaging book for anyone willing to take on the current challenges in the quest for Jesus. * Christian Science Monitor *show more

About Donald Harman Akenson

Donald Harman Akenson is Professor of History at Queen's University, Kingston (Canada), and Beamish Professor of Irish Studies at the University of Liverpool, England. A senior editor at McGill-Queen's University Press, he is an award-winning author of numerous books on a wide range of topics, including Surpassing Wonder: The Invention of the Bible and the Talmuds.show more

Rating details

38 ratings
3.86 out of 5 stars
5 26% (10)
4 42% (16)
3 24% (9)
2 8% (3)
1 0% (0)
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