God Vs. The Patriarchy's Reviews > Paul: A Biography

Paul by N.T. Wright
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really liked it

I started this book hoping for a humanizing portrait of Paul, one that took into account as much of his daily life as possible: what might he be eating, and with whom? How did he dress, and what did that say about him in larger society? How did he pack for the many journeys he took? What might his tentmaker's shop look like? Of course, this would all require a certain amount of conjecture and one could argue to do so would be flirting with historical fiction instead of straight history.

To my disappointment, but perhaps to his credit, N.T. Wright resisted this urge. Wright did an admiral job of describing Paul as best as possible from a 2000 year remove, particularly in analyzing Paul's mind. There was some discussion of society around Paul (with a special emphasis on the lack of privacy for most inhabitants of the ancient world), what travel would be like on foot or by boat, and how imprisonment worked. But I must be honest, I was hoping for something slightly less cerebral.

Again, perhaps resisting the urge to conjecture is to Wright's credit, and I would still recommend this book. It is long, but flows at a good pace. But even if you just read the last 50 pages it would be worth picking up this book. In the last chapter Wright summarizes why Paul's promotion of Jesus-following (he makes the point very clear through-out the book that Paul worked from a decidedly Jewish standpoint and was not promoting a new "religion" as we know it) was so successful, both in his day and now. If you start from the beginning, you can follow along as Wright further expounds the reasons behind Paul's ultimate influence over Christianity through the ages. For those laity who are serious about understanding the man behind so much of the New Testament, this book is a great place to start.
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Reading Progress

January 10, 2020 – Started Reading
January 10, 2020 – Shelved
February 5, 2020 – Finished Reading

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