Paul and Jesus: How the Apostle Transformed Christianity by James D. TaborIn this “compulsively readable exploration of the tangled world of Christian origins” (Publishers Weekly), religious historian James Tabor illuminates the earliest years of Jesus’ teachings before Paul shaped them into the religion we know today.
This fascinating examination of the earliest years of Christianity reveals how the man we call St. Paul shaped Christianity as we know it today.
Historians know almost nothing about the two decades following the crucifixion of Jesus, when his followers regrouped and began to spread his message. During this time Paul joined the movement and began to preach to the gentiles. Using the oldest Christian documents that we have—the letters of Paul—as well as other early Christian sources, historian and scholar James Tabor reconstructs the origins of Christianity. Tabor shows how Paul separated himself from Peter and James to introduce his own version of Christianity, which would continue to develop independently of the message that Jesus, James, and Peter preached.
Paul and Jesus illuminates the fascinating period of history when Christianity was born out of Judaism.
The Preparation of Paul
James led the very Jewish Jesus movement in Jerusalem, while Paul developed a radically divergent form of Jesus devotion among Gentiles that spread all over the Mediterranean. Roughly speaking, Peter is the most prominent figure in the first half of Acts, while Paul dominates the second. But read more closely, and you notice that James has the last word when a major decision is being reached Acts and that Paul makes a special point to meet with James James led the Jewish community of Jesus followers in Jerusalem, who understood following Jesus as a very Jewish thing and who continued to observe the Torah. Paul, on the other hand, exercised his leadership among Gentiles, and he never required them to convert to Judaism by observing the Torah. Both Acts 15 and Galatians 2 reflect that James and Paul had to sort these issues out.
The Conference in Jerusalem
The Acts of the Apostles is the second book written by St. Luke and serves as a sequel to his Gospel. Acts follows the Gospel of St. John and precedes the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans in the New Testament of the Bible.
Saul of Tarsus had been such a vicious persecutor of Christians that even after his conversion the brethren were still afraid of him. When Paul eventually returned to Jerusalem following his conversion to Christ, Barnabas had to persuade the disciples to let the apostle fellowship with them Acts As a result of this intercession, a wonderful friendship between Paul and Barnabas was formed. On their first missionary journey together, John Mark, the cousin of Barnabas Col. Along the way, however, John Mark decided to return to his home in Jerusalem Acts The reason for his departure is not specified in the sacred text.
In the previous section of his autobiography Paul has been describing the nature of his relationship with the original apostles in Jerusalem to show that he had been commissioned directly by God, not by the apostles, to preach the gospel to the Gentiles. He has worked independently from them; he is not their messenger boy. In fact his contact with them has been minimal. He did not visit them until three years after his conversion; and then he spent only two weeks with Peter in Jerusalem in order to get acquainted with him. On that trip to Jerusalem, the only other apostle he saw was James.