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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?

3.94  ·  Rating Details  ·  672 Ratings  ·  66 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
Apr 01, 2011 Ben De Bono rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, theology
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.
Jan 15, 2015 David S. T. rated it really liked it
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
Sameh Maher
الكتاب رائع جدا ويقدم طرحه بأسلوب بسيط وقيم فى نفس الوقت
وهذا فى اطار لمناقشته لسؤال كثيرا ما يثار فى الاوساط المهتمة بتاريخ المسيحية والدراسات الكتابية ...
هل بولس الرسول هو المؤسس الحقيقى للمسيحية ؟؟؟
كى يجيب الكاتب عن السؤال كان لابد من دراسة شخصية بولس نفسها وتحوله من يهودى غيور من مدرسة شمعى الى المسيحية بكل رحابتها ....
يناقش الكاتب بمهارة كيف رأى بولس المسيح كنقطة ارتكاز لكل تعاليمه واهما التبرير بالايمان ...
ويقدم فى طرحه ان بولس وجد المسيح فى عمق كل التعاليم اليهودية التى تربى عليها لم يكن ي
...more
Matt Anderson
About five years ago a friend recommended that I read N.T. Wright. I asked him which of Wright's books would be the best one to start off with, and he recommended this one. I think it was a good recommendation. I did find it to be very accessible, while remaining at a high level in terms of its theological thought.

In this highly researched book, Wright unpacks what Paul likely believed about God and Jesus and The Way. The book also examines the history of traditional Judaism, and explores how wh
...more
Eric
Aug 11, 2013 Eric rated it it was ok
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
Mar 26, 2008 Phil rated it liked it
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
Jan 09, 2015 Tyler Cox rated it it was ok
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
Charles Curtis
Mar 19, 2016 Charles Curtis rated it it was amazing
The title betrays the content of this book. The title is awkward even if it is clear. The content is anything but awkward. Wright is a treasure for the Kingdom. His work on the Apostle Paul is a breath of fresh air amidst hyper-intellectual contrivances. If you want a clear reinforcement of Paul's position as well as disposition, as it pertains to Paul's message to Jew and Gentile, this book is a treasure. And you can't do an in-depth study on Paul without inadvertently proclaiming the good news ...more
Douglas Wilson
Feb 19, 2009 Douglas Wilson rated it liked it
Shelves: theology
Great, but troubling.
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
Aug 14, 2011 Jacob Aitken rated it really liked it
(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
Jul 22, 2011 Allen Lim rated it really liked it
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
Aug 22, 2013 William rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 18, 2013 Graham rated it really liked it
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
May 17, 2009 Chris rated it really liked it
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 really liked it
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
Robert
Feb 24, 2016 Robert rated it it was amazing
N T Wright gives a defense against those who would say that Jesus was not who the Bible says He is, but that Paul created a myth based, loosely, on the life of Jesus. While Wright's writing can sometimes be difficult to understand clearly, he is fully biblical in his beliefs and, I believe, often corrects some erroneous thinking that has been prevalent in Christian thought for a long time.
John
Apr 12, 2016 John added it
Good, deep work in a short (under 300 pages) format. Defintitely defends one of the essential theses of Christianity: Jesus, the Christ, the Messiah, is the founder of our faith.

Looks at both justification and sanctification. Warns of authors whose theology takes you down a bad path.
Eric Oppenhuizen
Apr 28, 2015 Eric Oppenhuizen rated it it was amazing
NT Wright provides us a wonderful overview of Paul and his biblical writings. Wright spends much time informing the reader of who Saul the Pharisee was, and how his encounter shaped who Paul the Christ-follower was.
Brian
Apr 06, 2016 Brian rated it it was amazing
Challenging book on Paul's themes of justification and righteousness and what it means to get back to a first-century Jew's perspective on these things. It's a difficult read at times, but entirely worth it.
Kory Eastvold
Nov 05, 2014 Kory Eastvold rated it really liked it
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
Sep 10, 2013 Chris Griffith rated it it was amazing
Shelves: top-5-2013
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
Dec 19, 2012 Neil Rogers rated it it was amazing
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
Harley
Sep 24, 2015 Harley rated it it was amazing
Excellent...

"...the claim of Israel always was, the message of Jesus always was, and the announcement of Paul always was, that the human race was to be shown, invited to, summoned into, and enabled to discover the true way of being human, the way to reflect the very image of God himself in every aspect of life and with every fibre of one's being. If that is what you mean by 'religion', so be it. Jesus and Paul thought of it as Life, as being human, as being the children of God." (pg. 220 ~ 1997
...more
Phil Chapman
Nov 14, 2013 Phil Chapman rated it really liked it
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
Jul 14, 2008 Joshua rated it liked it
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 liked it
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.
Jamie Franklin
Jul 15, 2013 Jamie Franklin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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'.
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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
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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
“Saul of Tarsus, in other words, had found a new vocation. It would demand all the energy, all the zeal, that he had devoted to his former way of life. He was now to be a herald of the king.” 1 likes
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