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Publisher's Summary

St. Paul is known throughout the world as the first Christian writer, authoring fourteen of the twenty-seven books in the New Testament. But as Karen Armstrong demonstrates in St. Paul: The Apostle We Love to Hate, he also exerted a more significant influence on the spread of Christianity throughout the world than any other figure in history. It was Paul who established the first Christian churches in Europe and Asia in the first century, Paul who transformed a minor sect into the largest religion produced by Western civilization, and Paul who advanced the revolutionary idea that Christ could serve as a model for the possibility of transcendence. While we know little about some aspects of the life of St. Paul - his upbringing, the details of his death - his dramatic vision of God on the road to Damascus is one of the most powerful stories in the history of Christianity, and the life that followed forever changed the course of history.

©2015 Karen Armstrong. (P)2015 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Devoid of fresh insight

I was hoping for some fresh insights on Paul. Nothing. The title was enticing but the content very disappointing

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Insightful

Very good,lots of information I never knew. I will listen again. it has changed the way I understood the new testament.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Some good information as historical but

Some good information but doesn't seem to believe in the inspiration of the Scriptures. Talks about people writing in Paul's name and twisting his theology, to big for their own minds.

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Sometimes lacks critical analysis

It is always pleasing to hear the author - who after all knows exactly what they are writing about - read their own book confidently and proficiently. Karen Armstrong presents a fine reading of her own work here.

I was not entirely sure where this particular audio book would take me. As an atheist, I am interested more in the Christian church's history and how its teachings change over time than in the 'legend'. Unfortunately, the author here fails to adequately scrutinise some of the church's founding myths, and in particular discusses the resurrection early before a much later mention of clear doubts about how the Roman Empire would actually deal with someone from the lowest classes who was causing a disturbance. It is also not clear who the historical Jesus might have been (though scholars are generally agreed on his existence), and how that person lived and preached during his own life; this was skirted over in discussions of him.

It was good on the other hand that Dr (honorary) Armstrong steered clear of the works that are known to be of non-Pauline origin until discussing them and their purpose near the end of her book.

She also ended with a dig at those who are preaching the 'prosperity gospel', and rightly so. Paul was as close as one could come to socialist in his beliefs, as allegedly was Jesus before him. His focus on equality is made clear in this book as in his (genuine) letters.

This book did deal briefly with the post-Pauline world, but seemed quite abrupt in its ending. The longer-term impact of Paul - and how his place in the New Testament was cemented - were barely touched upon.

Overall, somewhat interesting but could have done with closer analysis of fact vs. myth and a more extensive discussion of Paul after Paul.

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A different side of Paul

The author does a brilliant job of cutting through the layers of interpretation placed upon Paul to get to what we can learn of his own thoughts and teachings. It was very informative and has allowed me to see Paul in a new light.

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St. Paul

From the start she seemed to be talking about someone she invented, I wouldn't recommend it. In fact have stopped it half way.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Good historical/theological examination of Paul

Though the audio book lacks any footnotes for referencing the author's sources, this historical and theological examination of Paul was of great interest. Highly recommended for anyone interested in serious Bible study and examination of faith. The author has a beautiful English accent and is very easy to listen to.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Admirably researched and told

Any book by Karen Armstrong opens up new perspectives for me. This is no exception. One cannot view Paul in the same way or, I think, not be filled eith compassion after hearing this history and narrative .

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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excellent.ly presented. <br /><br /><br /><br />

I loved every minute of ms armstrong ' s presentation. it made the story of Paul
come alive and I really got a sense of the culture and the struggles of the people. ironically, we human beings have not changed a bit from Paul's time.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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excellent introduction to Paul

great scholarship, with egually great insights. Paul is often misunderstood to most people, well worth the read.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Mary Carnegie
  • 04-01-17

Paul - baddie or goodie or both?

Few are indifferent to Paul, who gave us that wonderful hymn to love in 1Cor:13, but who also possibly (Armstrong challenges this) ordered women to cover up and shut up in church. It is a concise knowledgeable account of the life and work of Paul of Tarsus, as far as we are able to reconstruct it, taking account of recent scholarship, and avoiding dogmatism.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Angela
  • 10-15-18

Informative

I don't usually like author read books as, writing a good book, does not apparently equate to being a good reader, however, in this instance I found Karen Armstrong's reading worked well. I found the establishment of Paul's history and conversion as well as the contextualisation of Paul's relationship with other disciples and the Jesus cults very informative.