The Religion of Paul the Apostle
Paul the Apostle has traditionally been viewed as a thinker and theologian, and scholars have focused almost exclusively on his ideas rather than on his religious experience. In this book, a leading New Testament scholar challenges this view of Paul. John Ashton demonstrates how closely Paul’s own career resembles that of a typical shaman, and he shows how every important aspect of Paul’s life and ministry may be illuminated by focusing on his experience.
Drawing not only on Paul’s letters but also on contemporary writings in the Jewish and Hellenistic worlds, Ashton discusses a number of important issues relevant to the understanding of Paul and to the origins of Christianity: whether Paul is properly described as a convert, a mystic, an apostle, a prophet, or a charismatic; what his attitude was to the Jewish traditions he inherited; why he felt called upon to preach, not to his fellow Jews, but to the Gentiles; what accounts for the remarkable success of his strange new Gospel; and how we can explain his language of spirit-possession ("Christ lives in me”). In addressing these issues, Ashton demonstrates that to regard Christianity simply as a religion of the word is to ignore a vital truth about its origins.
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Acts Adolf Deissmann already Anatolia anthropology apostle argued argument baptism believe body career century chapter Christ Christian church concept concludes context conversion Corinthians crucified Damascus road dead death demons discussion divine E. P. Sanders E. R. Dodds ecstatic Ed Sanders Enoch evidence Excursus exorcisms explain faith flesh Galatians genealogical Gentiles gifts glory God's gospel Greek heaven Hebrew historians human Ibid interpretation Isaiah Israel Jesus Jesus movement Jewish Jews Josephus Judaism kind letters lives Lord Luke Luke's means merkabah merkabah mysticism metaphor Morton Smith mystery religions mystical experience Nuer pagan passage Paul the Apostle Paul the Convert Paul's preaching problem prophecy prophets question religious remarks resurrection revelation Romans salvation Sanders Saul says scholars Schweitzer scriptures seen sense shaman shamanistic simply speaks spirit story suggestion term Testament theology things thought tradition transformation translation vision word writings