The Paul Quest: The Renewed Search for the Jew of Tarsus

Ben Witherington III

The Paul Quest: The Renewed Search for the Jew of Tarsus
The Paul Quest: The Renewed Search for the Jew of Tarsus

Book Details

Categories: Pauline Studies

Book Information

Ben Witherington III examines the various profiles of the historical Paul that have been newly discovered, revealing how a reacquaintance with the classical Roman world has filled in even more details of Paul's life and work.

Pages: 347
Publisher: InterVarsity Press
Published: 2001
ISBN-10: 0830826602
ISBN-13: 9780830826605

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4.75 out of 5 based on 2 user ratings
Denver Seminary Journal December 5, 2009 4.5 5
Witherington does not intend to write a life of Paul but rather enquires what sort ofperson he was. In doing so, one has to understand Paul on his own terms as an ancientMediterranean person.Sociohistorical and anthropological research have shown that persons belonging to first-century Mediterranean culture had dyadic personalities, which means that they gainedtheir sense of identity primarily from the group to which they belonged. In becoming aChristian, Paul would have been seen as a deviant figure. However, even as ChristianPaul did not become an individualist; he derived his identity not from who he was butrather from “whose he was.” In this society honor was valued over life and boasting wasseen as proper rather than humility. Paul inverts this by boasting in shameful things suchas the cross and considering Christ’s honor more important than his own life. He inverts aculture where reciprocity (the do ut des formula) was the name of the game byintroducing grace and real unselfish giving.Paul’s complex personality included at least three major components: he was a Jew, aRoman citizen, and a Christian. After his Damascus encounter he became a messianicJew but retained his earlier zeal. [Full Review]

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