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St. Paul: The Apostle We Love to Hate (2015)

by Karen Armstrong

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16810156,909 (3.85)13
"A stirring account of the life of Paul, who brought Christianity to the Jews, by the most popular writer on religion in the English-speaking world, Karen Armstrong, author of The History of God, which has been translated into thirty languages"--

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In this little book, just 125 pages, Karen Armstrong gives St. Paul credit for what he really did and shows that he didn't say much that he is blamed for. Paul was an egalitarian. He wanted a Church where everyone was equal. When he said that there was no Greek nor Jew, no male nor female in Christ he meant it. The patriarchy and mysogynistic statements in Paul's letters, such as women should be quiet in Church and obey their husbands were never said by Paul. Those were added later by others to wanted to fit the Christian Church into the existing mores of Roman and Greek culture.

Armstrong ends her study of Paul by saying "There are many opinionated religious people who would do well to heed Paul's warning to the 'strong' who were intimidating the 'weak' with their overbearing certainty".
( )
  MMc009 | Jan 30, 2022 |
Karen Armstrong provided a nuanced view of Paul which required me to rethink my negative reaction to the information received (most of my life) which portrayed Paul as a 'woman hater'. I had trouble reconciling that view of him with the various women who hosted the house churches and with the various books attributed to Paul which placed women in secondary roles. Current studies by Armstrong and others suggest that
  Elizabeth80 | Apr 2, 2020 |
Armstrong, Karen. St. Paul: The Saint We Love to Hate. New Harvest, 2015.
One of the many things I admire about Karen Armstrong is her willingness to change her mind. In 1983 she wrote that Paul was an antifeminist who destroyed much of early Christian theology. In this new book, she argues that more recent scholarship has shown that most of the things she objected to in Paul’s writings were actually interpolations by later writers attempting to make him less controversial in Greco-Roman eyes. She now paints Paul as a radical egalitarian, who, far from being an antifeminist, thanks women for their support of their religious communities. She shows him as man struggling to keep together far-flung congregations—always tempted to regard their local brand as superior to everyone else’s version of the movement. Armstrong is not announcing new archeological studies but synthesizing in the clearest way possible the latest scholarly thinking. Nobody does that better, especially not in 160 pages. ( )
1 vote Tom-e | Mar 30, 2020 |
Armstrong questions Paul's authorship of many of the letters attributed to him, and explains the situation behind the others. A great brief look at the career of the Apostle who met Jesus on the road to
Damascus. ( )
  LindaLeeJacobs | Feb 15, 2020 |
In this short book Armstrong makes a valiant attempt to redeem Paul from his reputation as a misogynist, and as one who advocated toeing the party line as far as government is concerned.
Her results are mixed. To dismiss nearly every verse that one finds objectionable is facile at best. The resulting picture of Paul as one who had to deal with both a hostile government and hostile factions within the early church, and who did so in a completely blameless manner, must err on the other side of the argument: in her view (at least as expressed here) Paul is so perfect as to be impossible to believe. ( )
  Matke | Nov 2, 2018 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Karen Armstrongprimary authorall editionscalculated
Dayal, AntarCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weigel, EmilyCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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While Jerusalem was celebrated Passover c. 30 CE, Pontius Pilate, Roman governor of Judea, order the crucifixion of a peasant from the tiny hamlet of Nazareth in Galilee. (Introduction)
Luke's account of the descent on the Spirit on the Jewish festival of Pentecost may not be historically reliable but it certainly expresses the tumultuous character of the early Jesus movement.
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"A stirring account of the life of Paul, who brought Christianity to the Jews, by the most popular writer on religion in the English-speaking world, Karen Armstrong, author of The History of God, which has been translated into thirty languages"--

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