A troubled craftsman from a port city near Antioch joins a subversive group and begins a new life centred on his faith. He travels to market towns and villages, preaching and collecting funds to support the Jerusalem-based leadership of the movement. His message is one of love and unity, but he quickly comes to the attention of the authorities. Soon he is branded an enemy of the state.
Karen Armstrong’s St Paul: The Misunderstood Apostle describes a character who would not be out of place in a modern thriller – a charismatic villain, perhaps, or a double agent whose deepest loyalties the hero must second-guess. Armstrong has made every effort to strip away the patina of received wisdom from the figure of Christianity’s most influential early missionary. We are in the presence here of Paul the first-century religious radical, not Paul the father of Christendom.
Many readers will find it disturbing to see the Apostle Paul through the eyes of the Roman authorities. Yet this is an essentially sympathetic portrait, the real strength of which lies in its fresh view of Paul’s place in first-century geopolitics. Judaea and Galilee were provinces of the Roman Empire,