In Search of Paul: How Jesus' Apostle Opposed Rome's Empire with God's Kingdom

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9780060514570: In Search of Paul: How Jesus' Apostle Opposed Rome's Empire with God's Kingdom

"With dusty, tired, much-traveled Paul came Rome's most dangerous opponent,not legions but ideas, not an alternative force but an alternative faith. Paul too proclaimed one who was Lord, Savior, Redeemer, and Liberator. He announced one who was Divine, Son of God, God, and God from God. But Paul's new divinity was Christ, not Caesar. His was a radically divergent but equally global theology." -- from the Prologue

Many theories exist about who Paul was, what he believed, and what role he played in the origins of Christianity. Using archaeological and textual evidence, and taking advantage of recent major discoveries in Italy, Greece, Turkey, and Syria, John Dominic Crossan and Jonathan L. Reed show that Paul was a fallible but dedicated successor to Jesus, carrying on Jesus's mission of inaugurating the Kingdom of God on earth in opposition to the reign of Rome. Against the concrete backdrop of first-century Greco-Roman and Jewish life, In Search of Paul reveals the work of Paul as never before, showing how and why the liberating messages and practices of equality, caring for the poor, and a just society under God's rules, not Rome's, were so appealing.

Crossan and Reed's concise, engaging prose conjures up the complex and rich world of Paul's time, from the imperial intrigues of Rome to the theological infighting among Christian communities in Greece and Turkey to the beautiful landscapes and the cultural conflicts of the Middle East. The illustrations and short, rich, "you are there" descriptions help the reader to follow in the footsteps of Paul and, indeed, in the footsteps of Christianity.

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About the Author:

John Dominic Crossan, professor emeritus at DePaul University, is widely regarded as the foremost historical Jesus scholar of our time. He is the author of several bestselling books, including The Historical Jesus, How to Read the Bible and Still Be a Christian, God and Empire, Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography, The Greatest Prayer, The Last Week, and The Power of Parable. He lives in Minneola, Florida.



Jonathan L Reed is a leading authority on the archaeology of early Christianity and has excavated in Galilee since 1987. He has conducted research at the Albright Institute for Archaeological Research in Jerusalem, the American Academy in Rome, and the American School of Classical Studies in Athens. He is author of Archaeology and the Galilean Jesus and has co-authored with John Dominic Crossan two bestselling books, Excavating Jesus and In Search of Paul. He is professor of New Testament at the University of La Verne and is on the research council of Claremont Graduate University's world-renowned Institute for Antiquity and Christianity, where he is directing their Galilean Archaeology and the Historical Jesus project.

From Publishers Weekly:

Crossan and Reed make a compelling case for the idea that culture, politics and quest for empire played as large a part in the formation of the Apostle Paul as did theology and religious training. It is an approach that will leave some wondering just how much of a role spirituality played in the Paul story. The authors (Crossan is a prolific author and former co-chair of the Jesus Seminar, Reed is Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins at La Verne College in California) dig deeply into the history and archeology of Paul's world, searching for an understanding of the enigmatic apostle. Paul emerges as a fervent advocate for both the uniqueness of the Christian faith and the marginalization of others, the triumph of the City of God over the pagan and anti-God Roman empire. And this Paul is willing to reach out to both Jew and Gentile to accomplish his aims. In the end, Paul the man of faith is subsumed in Paul the agenda-driven revolutionary. The authors' masterful use of history, geography and theology combine to offer a strong case for their thesis. This book is written for a sophisticated audience, and therefore will be inaccessible to many readers, but it will be a valuable addition to the scholar's library.
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