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The Apostle by Sholem Asch
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The Apostle

by Sholem Asch

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Recently added byHicksvilleFCOC, private library, berthabruning, dwaddy, Harvey_Browne, JudyStanley
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This book, like most hagiographies, was extremely pro Paul. It shows him struggling, but he always ends up sacrificing everything for his vision of Christ, which came out to be the Church's accepted version. That the force of his personality is felt down through the centuries so strongly that it crushed all the "heresies" of his time is pretty amazing.

Asch's story deals minutely with the struggle between the Jews and Christians to decide if Christ was the expected Messiah, and whether, in ministering to the gentiles, the law of Torah should be enforced upon them, or abrogated to some extent (and if abrogated, to what extent?).

Paul believed that the gentiles should be given the salvation of Christ just by faith and left uncircumsized and eating pork if they so chose.

Most of the book flowed like a novel should, but it had some longueurs, when Asch discoursed on the finer points of the Torah or you could tell he was just reiterated the letters of Saint Paul from the New Testament itself.

Nero burns Rome and sacrificies Christians in the arena and Seneca and Petronius are also portrayed here, as well as a good deal about Saint Peter. It definitely has its exciting moments. Many are martyred and St. Peter is famously nailed to the cross upsidedown.

Most interesting to me, while reading this 754 page tome, was wondering what happened to Asch to make him write the trilogy of Christian-themed books and alienate most of his Yiddish readers. Did he convert?

In the book they recommend that Jews accept Jesus and hold to the laws of the Torah as well. I think he must have been like that, but this is mere speculation, of course.
  kylekatz | Feb 12, 2011 |
Historical novel about Saul of Tarsus who became Paul and started a new religion.
  keylawk | Sep 24, 2006 |
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