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What Saint Paul Really Said: Was Paul of Tarsus the Real Founder of Christianity?
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What Saint Paul Really Said: Was Paul of Tarsus the Real Founder of Christianity?

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  579 ratings  ·  59 reviews
N.T. Wright, a world authority on the life and letters of Paul, responds to A.N. Wilson's claim that it was Paul and not Jesus who founded Christianity. He delivers a devastating critique, contending that Paul was a faithful witness and herald of Jesus Christ.
Paperback, 192 pages
Published June 20th 1997 by William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (first published January 1st 1997)
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Ben De Bono
What St. Paul Really Said is probably N.T. Wright's most controversial book. Many evangelicals have gotten up in arms over the views he presents. John Piper wrote an entire book in response to his take on justification.

After reading it, I'm at a bit of a loss to understand what the problem is. His conclusions do differ from traditional evangelical takes on several points, but conclusions aside the book is thoroughly evangelical. Much of it is devoted to a strong defense of the evangelical view
...more
David S. T.
Without a doubt the letters of Paul have created plenty of doctrine and discussion in the Church, even in 2 Peter the writer mentions that Paul’s letters contain some things that are hard to understand. N.T. Wright sets out to explore Paul again this time focusing on what he might have thought in a 1st century Jewish context. Overall this book was pretty interesting, it starts with a brief summary of the recent Pauline studies, and it gives plenty of places to go if someone wants to dig a little ...more
Eric Sundquist
Well, unfortunately, this book is rather dull.

Dull. Dull dull dull, my God it's dull, it's so desperately dull and tedious and stuffy and boring and desperately dull! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMOmB1...

Well, maybe it's not that dull. =~) But with a subtitle like "Was Paul of Tarsus the Real Founder of Christianity," one could hope possibly for some scandal. As it turns out (and I shouldn't have been surprised), N.T. Wright is writing a book to partially respond to people who assert such a
...more
Phil
What Saint Paul Really Said

This is NT Wright's somewhat controversial book on the apostle Paul. The controversy basically has to do with the "New Perspective" on Paul described and advocated by Wright in the book. The book, however, looks at other topics as well--discussion of the new perspective only occupies a few of the chapters.
Wright spends the early parts of the book attempting to "place" Paul as a thinker and person. Paul was a Jew. But what sort of Jew? He was a Pharisee. But what sort
...more
Tyler Cox
The first half of the book was phenomenal. His description of Saul turning into Paul was incredible. He describes Saul who was trying to bring the kingdom of God and the fulfillment of the OT promises to bear with the sword. At his conversion, Paul realizes that Jesus has done in his death and resurrection what Saul was trying to do with the sword. Likewise, his discussion on Pauls theology being rooted in a Jewish worldview and how Christ has fulfilled the OT promises are very good. However, he ...more
Mark Sequeira
Aug 03, 2011 Mark Sequeira is currently reading it
Wow. Not sure if I could say that Tom (N.T.) could write a better book than "Jesus and the Victory of God" as that book is monumental, and one of my favorites of all time, but this might be it. If indeed Tom intends to write a book like ...Victory of God on Saint Paul and this is just his feeble attempt until he finds the time, then 'look out!' because this book is world changing if you let it sink into your being, but let me clarify, I am speaking of the first half or so. The rest drops us righ ...more
Jacob Aitken
(This is from an older Amazon review of seven years ago. While I'm actually quite sympathetic to Wright, it's been seven years since I've read WSPRS and my understanding of the issues now is different from when I first read Wright).

Contrary to many Reformed histrionics, Wright's thesis in this book is not to destroy all Lutherans and reintroduce Mariology, Popery, and candles in worship. He is defending the historic claim that the religion of Jesus and Paul is the same. Wright completely undoes
...more
Allen Lim
I went into this book with some caution as 2 Christian leaders I respect a lot (Carson and Piper) both seem to have serious issues with the New Perspective...

Having said that, I think Tom writes well... yes some of his ideas are explanations are a bit roundabout.... but when you're dealing with someone as complex as Paul, I guess thats to be expected.

Writing Styles aside, there are clearly some issues in here that need to be thought through. Wright redefines the traditional meanings of "gospel"
...more
Luis
Jan 15, 2010 Luis marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
En un grupo de Yahoo, estamos leyendo este libro que tanto impacto y controversio hizo en el mundo de habla hispana, en medio de los circulos Protestantes Reformados, y ahora en medio de los Protestantes Reformados de habla Hispana.

Quisiera dar mi resumen del primer
capitulo.

Aproximaciones al pensamiento de Pablo.


Si hay algo que existe en nuestro contexto latinoamericano, es la
analfabetisacion bíblica. Todos creen que el cristianismo comenzó con ellos, y
terminara con ellos. El porque el primer ca
...more
William
Where's the controversy?

When I first heard about the "New Perspective on Paul" in the 1990s I understood it primarily to be an internal debate in the Calvinistic/Reformed community and of little interest to an Anglican like myself. (From my perspective Calvinists seem too often to major on minors, making enormous mountains of controversy out of small theological molehills. I don't have the time or patience for that sort of thing.) As Wright began to weigh in on the NPP I started thinking that pe
...more
Jeff McCormack
I have only read a few of Wright's book so far, but this one stands out as one of the better ones I have read. I am always impressed by the tidbits he gives that get to the cultural and historical root of the subject, and he is loaded with them here.

To view Paul as some kind of heavily influenced teacher of things Hellenistic will guide you down the entire wrong path of understanding every time. I jumped into this book because of how highly it was spoken of by Scot McKnight in his book The King
...more
Graham
I'm admittedly a fan of Wright. This isn't his most comprehensive work on a topic. It is mainly an introduction and overview of some key facets of Wright's views on Paul. With his new volume on Paul coming out in Nov. I read this to get a sense of where Wright might go with the more complete study.

Wright covers some basic issues of interpretation of Paul's letters, including Paul's past as Saul of Tarsus and how his previous worldview influenced his writings as the Apostle Paul. Wright also giv
...more
Chris
This book is probably not for everyone. For the first third of the book I was a bit bored, as N. T. Wright took on a variety of issues regarding the Apostle Paul which are probably only of significant interest to Pauline scholars. But then he made some really striking points that got my attention, specifically challenging some common Protestant understandings of Paul's writings and bringing a stronger cultural and interpretive understanding. For example, he points out that, to Paul, the term "go ...more
Nick
Feb 12, 2008 Nick rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those who struggle with justification, or who liked Hahn's "Father Who Keeps His Promises".
While reading "What Saint Paul Really Said," large portions of the new testament audibly clicked into place within my understanding of the broad, overarching narrative of the Bible. St. Paul was taking up the Gospel message to the Jews and to the Gentiles as the final manifestation of the covenant promises made to Abraham in Genesis 15. Bishop Wright interprets St. Paul in such a way as to place him squarely in this Jewish context, but with a clear grasp not only upon the prophetic "critique fro ...more
Kory Eastvold
A good introduction to Pauline debates, but not a very good introduction to Paul's letters. This is best read in tandem with something like John Polhill's Paul and His Letters.
Chris Griffith
This small book was the shot heard around the world with regards to what has come to be known as the New Perspective on Paul. What Wright is saying in this book is that the Gospel, according to Paul, is about Jesus and His ascension to the throne as Israel's Messiah and thereby the ruler of all nations. Yes, our sins are forgiven, yes, we are reconciled to God through His blood, but the Gospel is all about Jesus and His Lordship and that might sting one who might not want to hear it or who might ...more
Neil Rogers
This is a heady book that makes Wright's contribution to the New Perspective on Paul clear and accessible to a wider audience. In light of that goal, he often skims through arguments with less development than I would like. Overall, though, his permise is solid and I found his conclusions thoughtful and informative. Best of all, he keeps the gospel, that is, the life, death, resurrection and eternal Lordship of Jesus, front and center, regardless of the fact that this book is about Paul. This bo ...more
Phil Chapman
Lots of interesting ideas. Short. Readable. I think the main thrust of it is that God did for Jesus in the middle of time what the Jews were expecting he would do for them at the end of time, that is, vindicate them after they had suffered at the hands of pagans.
There is a lot of good things in here about Lord and how Jesus was competing against Cesar for that title and what kind of salvation was being brought to the world.
This book is NPP (New Pauline Perspective); to me, the arguments seem s
...more
Joshua
really good. first book i've read specifically about Paul's theology. it has been really helpful for understanding what exactly Paul is trying to communicate in certain places.

Some key points made in the book:

(1) What Paul meant by 'the gospel' was not 'here's how to get saved' or that 'Jesus is the way to heaven' but rather 'Jesus is king, and God, and has been vindicated as the Messiah, and therefore pagan gods are blasphemous nonsenses'.

(more to come)
Luke
May 02, 2007 Luke rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone involved in contemporary discussion of the Bible
well written and convincing, but struggles to convince of a definite need to rework our image of Paul and the Judaism of his day. calls into question Reformational view of justification without attempting to dialog with it. if this understanding is so obvious, why has it only shown up in the mid- to late-20th Century?

is to be commended for its high view of the Lordship of Christ in the message of the Gospel.

a worthy read but not without your thinking cap.
Skipper Boatwright
This book is far too often not even given a chance. Many people, on approaching this book, have already drawn their lines in the sand as to what they believe or don't believe concerning Wright's new and controversial views. I don't agree with everything Wright puts forth, but the biggest tragedy would be to throw out the baby with the bath water. If anything else, Wright is simply a joy to read, and his biblical theology is fresh and fascinating.
Jamie Franklin
What St Paul Really Said is an excellent overview of the main touchstones of Tom Wright's views on the apostle. I am approaching this subject largely as a beginner and I found the clear framing of the issues and the stimulating communication to be exactly what I needed as a pathway into this arena. Highly recommended for anyone wishing to find out what exactly people mean when they talk about 'The New Perspective on Paul'.
Emily
I found N.T. Write very accessable, but it always helps to have Neil nearby to answer questions and provide some context. Although our disucssion of the book at church wasn't very theological, I think it helped me understand the so-called "New Perspective on Paul" a little better and will give me new things to think about when reading Paul's letters in the Bible.
David
Wright's work receives four stars not because it is so well written but because his work is so important that it needs to be considered. Wright's style is that of an academician/pastor and could be called John Stott on steroids. Wright's arguments are so convincing because they contain strands of truth mixed with poor exegesis and faulty presuppositions.
Grant Robertson
N. T. Wright employs the New Perspective on Paul to address anachronisms of post-Lutheran Pauline exegesis. Paul's letters were not polemics against proto-Pelagians but rather a radical re-examination of Jewish covenantal hopes due to the advent, crucifixion and resurrection of Messiah King Jesus. Read this book, and your views will change or be challenged.
Andrew Myers
Beautiful book, Wright has profoundly changed my understanding of the New Testament, for the better. After reading many of his books I feel like all my life I've been given a stick figure drawing of the Bible and Davinci came along and painted a masterpiece over it, keeping the general shape of the original picture.
Dwight Davis
Phenomenal book by N.T. Wright. Wright sets Paul firmly in his first century Jewish context to help us better understand what Paul meant. Immensely helpful and while I don't agree with everything in the book, I heartily commend this book to anyone wanting to better understand the apostle Paul.
Chris Comis
Good introduction to N.T.'s thought. Whether you agree or disagree with him, you have to admit that he has definitely done his exegesis, to the hilt. I still need to read his three major works though before I go passing any kind of serious judgment on his scholarship.
Ashley
I think that this was a well written book, but the implications of what Wright said could be damaging to the church.It leans too far toward works based salvation. See John Piper's book for a further explanation. I wouldn't recommend this book. It seems totally wrong to me.
Irm
Just started this. It's more theological than I usually read but I found this author's name in Hipster Christianity and decided to try it. It's also interesting as I do my slow walk through the epistles (currently on Galatians). OK... I read as much of this as I could handle.
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N. T. Wright is the former Bishop of Durham in the Church of England (2003-2010) and one of the world's leading Bible scholars. He is now serving as the chair of New Testament and Early Christianity at the School of Divinity at the University of St. Andrews. He has been featured on ABC News, Dateline NBC, The Colbert Report, and Fresh Air, and he has taught New Testament studies at Cambridge, McGi ...more
More about N.T. Wright...
Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense The Challenge of Jesus: Rediscovering Who Jesus Was and Is The New Testament and the People of God (Christian Origins and the Question of God, #1) Simply Jesus: A New Vision of Who He Was, What He Did, and Why He Matters

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“There are five language-sets in particular which they employed for this purpose. Briefly, they are as follows: Wisdom, Torah, Spirit, Word and Shekinah” 2 likes
“Paul believed, in fact, that Jesus had gone through death and out the other side. Jesus had gone into a new mode of physicality, for which there was no precedent and of which there was, as yet, no other example.” 1 likes
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