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Publisher's Summary

Throughout history, Christians have debated Paul's influence in the church. Though revered, Paul has also been controversial. Apocryphal writings by Peter and James charge Paul with being a tool of Satan. In later centuries, Paul was scorned by such writers as Thomas Jefferson, George Bernard Shaw, and Nietzsche.

In this masterly analysis, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Garry Wills chronicles Paul's tremendous influence on the first explosion of Christian belief, the controversy surrounding Paul through the centuries, and the meaning of his words. He argues eloquently that what Paul meant was not contrary to what Jesus meant. Rather, the best way to know Jesus is to discover Paul. Unlike the Gospel writers, who carefully shaped their narratives many decades after Jesus' life, Paul wrote in the heat of the moment, offering the best reflection of those early times.

©2006 Garry Wills; (P)2006 Blackstone Audio Inc.

Critic Reviews

"[D]azzlingly enlightening." (Booklist)
"[A] foremost Catholic intellectual." (Chicago Tribune)
"Provocative yet helpful, this book is sure to create a buzz." (Publishers Weekly)
"[Wills] is simply the most astute Catholic writer in America today." (Boston Globe)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall

Thoughtful

I felt as though I had entered a conversation midway through and spent the book trying to catch up. In the end the author does distill what he believes Paul meant into several concise lines; but the chapters up until that revelation were grueling and disturbing. A great deal of stress was placed on Nero's sadism and the internal battles between christians and disciples.

36 of 41 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Excellent!

I found it much easier to follow as Wills reads it. Dense. Marvelous. Try it.

  • Overall
  • Roy
  • Beaumont, TX, United States
  • 05-05-09

A Companion to What Jesus Meant

Garry Wills in "What Paul Meant" places the Christian Saint in historical context. In this volume he deals with Paul's approach to the Gospel contending that Paul did not convert to Christianity because it did not yet exist. Further he explains the implications of that fact by answering questions like was Paul guilty of anti-Seminitism? and didn't he denegrate women?

Written in the same spirit as "What Jesus Meant" this book will be informative to believer and interested sceptic alike. It is well written and expertly read.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful