Historians know virtually nothing about the two decades following the crucifixion of Jesus, when his followers regrouped and began to spread his message. During this time the man we know as the apostle Paul joined the movement and began to preach to the gentiles.
Using the oldest Christian documents that we have - the letters of Paul - as well as other early Christian sources, historian and scholar James Tabor reconstructs the origins of Christianity. Tabor reveals that the familiar figures of James, Peter, and Paul sometimes disagreed fiercely over everything from the meaning of Jesus' message to the question of whether converts must first become Jews. Tabor shows how Paul separated himself from Peter and James and introduced his own version of Christianity, which would continue to develop independently of the gospel message that Jesus, James, and Peter preached.
Paul and Jesus gives us a new and deeper understanding of Paul as it illuminates the fascinating period of history when Christianity was born out of Judaism and became the religion we recognize today.
"Highly recommended to all interested in the historic roots of Christianity, whether or not they are believers. After Tabor, you will never read the NT in quite the same way." (Library Journal Starred Review)
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Paul or Jesus?
As an author myself, I understand the intense desire to get a very important idea across to my readers. I have seen many writers start with an idea that they think is provable but by the end of their work they have steered off of the track and forgotten the entire purpose of their work.
This is not the case with this monumental work that James has penned here. He masterfully executes his attempt to expose Paul and what he has done to the world.
When I wrote my book, Leaving Jesus, I wanted to spend more time on Paul and his twisting of the Old Testament. I felt that I had done a good job in revealing what Paul had done but James ups the ante and peels away the layers of the Apostle Paul to uncover the problems with Paul's writings and actual thought processes.
James expertly draws on his previous writing to paint a portrait of Paul that is clear and vivid. Starting with Paul's twisting of Scripture and concepts he then transverses through his social interactions with the disciples. James spends much time on the way that Paul thought about and behaved toward James, the brother of Jesus.I thought I had understood Paul but by the time I was finished with "Paul and Jesus", I felt like I had met him.
This is the book that I wanted to write myself but thanks to James D. Tabor I didn't have to do so. James has made it easy to understand Paul and along the way, Jesus, the misunderstood first century Jewish Rabbi who's teachings are buried deep inside the New Testament overpowered by Paul's lies and tricks.
Thanks James for treading where few chose to travel, for not getting lost along the way and for returning to us with truth that will free many others.
A Telling Tale