Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Great Lion of God” as Want to Read:
Great Lion of God
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Great Lion of God

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  1,476 Ratings  ·  67 Reviews
Paul of Tarsus faced a world like today's twenty centuries ago - and changed it.

The pious son of a rich Roman-Jewish family, Paul seemed destined for a peaceful bookish life. But he lived in a violent time, where new ideas were challenging old traditions.

His hatred of women, prompted by a fiery adolescent affair with a slave girl, was matched only by his loathing of the ea
Paperback, 2nd Impression, 669 pages
Published August 1976 by Fontana (first published 1970)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Chris Blocker
*This book review is largely about the author, and contains some opinion. Flag at your discretion.*

There's a good chance you've never heard of Taylor Caldwell. She was a popular author once upon a time, but then just “disappeared.” If you're a regular at book sales or used bookstores, you've probably come across her books before, but likely didn't pay them much attention. Before I get around to my review of Great Lion of God, I'd like to introduce Ms. Caldwell, and spend a few minutes discussing
Jan 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I didn't particularly appreciate Saint Paul or his writings until I read this book (unabridged). I am not a fan of historical fiction using real persons, but this one is credible and scripturally accurate. I delighted in Taylor's gift of the description (not everyone's cup of tea).
Feb 06, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hfu-2014
I first wanted to read this book as I was so struck by how aptly Caldwell married the factual and fictional in the book about St. Luke, Dear and Glorious Physician and I really loved that book. Thus, it was logical to me that I would feel similarly about her book on Saul/Paul of Tarsus.

And I did get so much from the book. It did not read as smoothly as the other one had, but I attribute that largely to the subject matter. Paul was a very complicated and at times conflicted person - one who disbe
Apr 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Her best biblical character novel by far! I have read it 3 times!
Great Lion of God was in the same haul as The Robe and Dear and Glorious Physician—in the small but cherished book collection of my grandmother, who died the year after I was born. Grandma might not have read many books, but quality is more important than quantity, and these three novels are some of the finest I’ve ever read.

Great Lion of God chronicles the life of Saul/Paul of Tarsus, that tempestuous man so vital to the spread of Christianity around the Roman world, and therefore a seminal fig
Feb 12, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone

Great Lion of God

Edited & Corrected Review November 21, 2013

Intro/Mea Culpa:

First off, my apologies for having created the original review and incorrectly writing about Caldwell’s Dear and Glorious Physician! I’m not entirely sure how I managed to write the essay but then create the wrong book when I posted the review. Many thanks to Constanza (see comments below) for reading this review and commenting on my error.

I have created a review for Dear and Glorious Physician (DAGP) with the mater
Georgia Herod
Jul 27, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Paul the Apostle is the subject of Caldwell's story. She has created a man of "leonine" proportions, one who lived as passionately before his Damascus Road experience as afterward. Because I am also reading through the Bible and have been in the book of Acts, it has been fascinating to read coinciding portions. I admire writers who can envision the gaps and take brief comments and expand them in technicolor. Caldwell does that! Paul becomes larger than life as he wrestles with his faith, his hum ...more
Erin Miller
Feb 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: life-changers
one of my favorites, if not, my favorite. I love the apostle Paul. This is such a wonderfully written fictional story of his life with as much biblical knowledge as possible.
Cami Bledel
Mar 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Exelente!!! trata sobre la vida se San Pablo, muy entretenido ver como llego a ser ese hombre santo, y la perspectiva que el tenia sobre Jesus
Maricarmen Estrada M
Interesante, mas me hubiese gustado una mayor fidelidad en cuanto a los datos históricos. La prosa cae en ciertos momentos en un romanticismo innecesario, lo cual le resta fuerza al relato
Feb 03, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion, rome
This is the first book I ever put away unfinished. I was raised to believe it was a special sort of sin to show disrespect to a book, but I just could not make myself continue reading. I had read over 350 pages and NOTHING had happened. This was supposed to be the life of one of the most well-traveled, aggressive and strong-willed individuals in Christian history! This, the first of my many sins against literature, occurred in the early 1970's, when I was incredibly young and naive. Perhaps my o ...more
Dec 01, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
My book club picked this book, because this liturgical year is dedicated to St. Paul. As well, we had previously read Grandmother and the Priests by Taylor Caldwell and which we all loved. Caldwell's research into biblical times bears fruit in this immense novel, moving from Paul's upper-class upbringing in Tarsus to his traveling to Jerusalem. I enjoyed very much how the author brought in to Paul's life, prior to his conversion, John the Baptist, Joseph of Arimathea, and of course, Jesus and Hi ...more
Feb 09, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
My two-star rating is purely a visceral reaction to the character and has nothing to do with the quality of the writing.

I read this book when I was a young teen. I'm sure it was well-written; Taylor Caldwell is a fine writer. I only gave it two stars because it caused me to dislike St. Paul. I mean, how bad of an arrogant #### do you have to be so that the only thing that'll turn you around is to have God himself (in the form of Jesus Christ) appear before you and strike you blind?

I also read D
Angela Joyce
Dec 29, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Passionate, detailed, exciting, and an altogether fascinating read. My one complaint is the frequency with which Paul's looks are described. I got it the first time-- in this story, he has red hair, blue eyes, freckles, a unibrow and a leonine way about him. No need to remind us every three pages for the whole flippin' book. Otherwise, great stuff.
Kim Preslar
Aug 06, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story is a fascinating look at the life and angst of St. Paul the apostle. Again, incredible research is obvious in the writing. I have a much greater appreciation of the books he penned in the New Test.
Jan 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Apostle Paul really was an average people in biblical time. Devoted to his religion and beliefs, and to his faith and ministry later.
With faults, as everyone.
Dec 12, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Dios santo! Que libro tan malo, tan aburrido, lo terminé pero ay no, no quiero leer nada más de esta autora.
Tensaebirhan Negussu
to read this book concerning to my life.
Shelley Alongi
Aug 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read several of her books. I like the religious themed books better than her politically themed books though politics always gets into her religious theme books. She has been gone 32 years and her books are still very powerful. They all highlight a world dominated by one group of people. Though I'm not sure I see that in this book. It is hard sometimes to tell how much is legend though I do know the Bible accounts and have read all of his letters many times and will still read them. I fin ...more
Sean Meade
I liked a lot of things about this book. Caldwell chose a plausible history for Paul, overall. She has a good point about Paul being the most sophisticated interpreter of Jesus of his time.

However, I'm mystified about why she tells a different history of Paul's ministry than the one related in Acts. And her Catholic theology is frankly off-putting sometimes.
Patricia A Spring

Worth reading. While long and slow at times, made me see Paul differently than I expected to. Even though a researched work of fiction, I enjoy stories that make me feel like I am there in that place, that time and allow me to see a different point of view.
Patricia H Guice

Beautifully written. Poetic descriptions. Made me feel like I was there. Paul is a heroic figure, passionately trying to bring people to Christ.
Sep 25, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: c
Didn't finish
Sandy Hearn
Feb 25, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I have read several of Taylor Caldwell's books, some of them including this one she has done a great deal of research on and she explains a lot in great length. But this one was hard to finish, which I did. She went on far too much about about the characters opinions of life and etc. This is the life story of St Paul also known as Saul, be spent most of his life as a very bitter unhappy man. He has sex once in his entire life and spent the rest of his life feeling worthless about it because he ...more
Jun 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Un excelente libro sobre la vida del apóstol Pablo. Demuestra el liderazgo que puede llegar a tener una persona, independiente de ser un asunto religioso, y la pasión sembrada para sacar adelante un ideal.

Una novela que lleva de nuevo a Roma, a la convulsionada ciudad de Tiberio, Caligula, Claudio y Nerón recreada en el nacimiento de la cristiandad y sus revueltas, seguidores y practicas violentas, llenas de sangre, y a unos cuantos líderes tratando de aplacar esa masa un tanto ignorante hasta d
Carla Romero
May 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lo leí cuando estaba en la preparatoria, una maestra solía darme libros para leer y mi mejor amiga era muy religiosa. Fue un gran libro en una época en la que me encontraba desorienrada. Más que nada lo sentí motivacional, porque todo estaba en contra del protagonista y aún así sin que él lo supiera estaba bendecido, algo que lo hacía especial y diferente, aunque nunca se dio realmente cuenta por dar más importancia a otras cosas.
Dec 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i read this book when it was written in the seventies and decided i needed to read again. st paul is so influential in christianity and this historical fiction turns him into a real person. albeit who knows how his life really was. did put some history in place for me.

an interesting commentary by the author in the foreward..."as the american republic is declining today". written over 40 years ago it could have been written right now.

a good book.
Apr 03, 2014 rated it liked it
While some of St. Paul's writings are sublimely beautiful, I can sometimes find him a bit abrasive and harsh. Caldwell takes this personality trait and builds a believable character and weaves in his writings (after his conversion.)
However, the book never quite flowed smoothly for me. Parts would move quickly, and others would slow down to a pace that I was sure I'd never finish.
A good read, but probably not one I'll return to again and again.
Aug 29, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book and just finished re-reading it thirty-some years after my first time through. The Apostle Paul is my personal hero so it was really fun and really interesting to see how Taylor Caldwell fleshed him out through fiction. Of course, I had my New Testament and Google at the ready throughout the reading, so I learned as I perused:)
Oct 13, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1944-1966, own
Again Taylor Caldwell's story of the disciple Paul before and after his transformative experience was great reading given my own leaning to Paulineian (sp?) ideas -- and yes, I know there are controversies there. Caldwell's Biblical lives fictions are one of my little caches of books which I keep handy.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Search for a Soul: Taylor Caldwell's Psychic Lives
  • The Big Fisherman
  • The Silver Chalice
  • The Song of Ruth
  • How Far to Bethlehem?
  • Rabble in Arms
  • Goat Song
  • البشموري
  • The President's Lady
  • The World, the Flesh and the Devil
  • Song of Years
  • Devil Water
  • The Shepherd Kings
  • Two from Galilee: The Story of Mary and Joseph
  • Presidents and Prophets: The Story of America's Presidents and the LDS Church
  • Long Knife
  • A Postcard from the Volcano: A Novel of Pre-War Germany
  • Ruth
Also known by the pen names Marcus Holland and Max Reiner.

Taylor Caldwell was born in Manchester, England. In 1907 she emigrated to the United States with her parents and younger brother. Her father died shortly after the move, and the family struggled. At the age of eight she started to write stories, and in fact wrote her first novel, The Romance of Atlantis, at the age of twelve (although it
More about Taylor Caldwell...
“Tumultuarios! ¡Proscritos!” 0 likes
“«Yo jamás descanso –pensó Saulo–.” 0 likes
More quotes…