Saint Saul: A Skeleton Key to the Historical Jesus | Book, Essay
- Book description:
In Saint Saul, Donald Harman Akenson offers a lively and provocative account of what we can learn about Jesus by reading the letters of Paul. As the only direct evidence of Jesus we have that were composed before the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE forever altered the outlook of the Christian and Jewish faiths, Akenson claims that these letters are the most reliable source of information. He dismisses the traditional method of searching for facts about Jesus by looking for parallels among the four gospels because they were handed down to us as a unit by a later generation. Akenson painstakingly recreates the world of Christ, a time rich with ideas, prophets, factions, priests, savants, and god-drunk fanatics. He insistently stresses throughout the Jewishness of Jesus, referring to Jesus and Paul as Yeshua and Saul, as they were then known. As an eminent historian, Akenson approaches his subject with a fresh eye and a scholarly rigor that is all too rare in this hotly disputed field.
- Book Authors:
- [ From book The United States and Ireland ( 1973 ) : ] Donald Harman Akenson teaches history at Queen 's University in Kingston, Ontario. He was born in Minneapolis, took his grades at Yale and Harvard, and taught and held administrative places at both of those universities. He is the writer of The Irish Education Experiment ( 1970 ) ; The Church of Ireland ( 1971 ) ; and Education and Enmity: The Control of Schooling in Northern Ireland ( 1973 ) .
Saint Saul: A Skeleton Key to the Historical Jesus Essay
- The author seeks - through an analysis of everything known about Paul - to make a skeleton key to unlock the historical Jesus. But the writer forgets or ignores one thing that undermines his thesis from the start - Paul knows non Jesus. This deficiency of acknowledgment led Alvin Boyd Kuhn to title one the chapters of his work Who is this King of Glory, 'The Shout of Paul 's Silence. If Paul were talking about an historical Jesus Christ, his descriptions of his visits to Jerusalem would hold been wholly different and wholly respectful ; something like, ... and the really brother of our Lord Jesus, James himself told me how our Lord cleansed... There is nil remotely like this in any of Paul 's existent Hagiographas and he has no regard at all for Peter and is ambivalent towards the group in Jerusalem that identified itself as the household of the Lord. This alone should do it clear that Paul 's Christ is something other than a actual integrated God named Jesus. Finally, no affair how you do the math, if one compares Paul 's most likely day of the month of birth with the likely day of the months for the birth of Jesus, they must hold been alive at the same clip - at least long plenty for Paul to hold heard something about Jesus while Jesus was still alive. This creates all kinds of jobs does n't it? In short, Mr. Akenson 's cognition is exceeding. However, its quality and his penetrations are marred by his premise that there was a living The nazarene who was the one Jesus and God incorporate -- as a actual misunderstanding of the Gospels may connote. This blinds him to the deductions of Paul 's ain Hagiographas - that the Jesus narrative is a signifier of a Hebrew death and raising god-man fable in which it is believed that everyone may hold a Christ within. Like it or non, Paul 's existent Hagiographas ( minus the ulterior alterations, corrections, interpolations, and outright counterfeits ) show that he was so a, or the first, Gnostic. Therefore one can non take his Hagiographas and seek to change by reversal engineer a Jesus from them. That is something that would be beyond even the brightest heads of Area 51 -- if they exist. Akenson offers a reasonably consecutive frontward Christian premiss, but one coming from a secular broad tradition that is rather dumbfounding: Paul offers a better glance of the historical Jesus than the Gospels or other Hagiographas. Because Paul is composing from a pre-70 ( i.e. before the devastation of the temple ) clip period, he has non been effected by the theological catastrophe that all other New Testament authors have. Akenson 's book is a antic layman or historical review of the Quest for the Historical Jesus, even if a few of his claims are reasonably unstable. I do happen it interesting, nevertheless, that, while prosecuting a great trade of moderate and broad spiritual bookmans, there is no reference of N. T. Wright. Still, a really interesting work of history. Saint Saul: A Skeleton Key to the Historical Jesus was yet another unplanned deliverance from Half Price Books ( I grabbed a similar new transcript of Bart Ehrman 's latest book, Forged: Writing in the Name of God -- Why the Bible 's Writers Are Not Who We Think They Are, excessively ) . This book by Donald Harman Akenson is a wonderfully elaborate and compellingly argued appraisal of what we think we know - and what small we can trust to cognize - about the early old ages of what became Christianity. Akenson reminds us that the lone beginning of information really written down during the period between the decease of Yeshua of Nazareth and the Destruction of the Temple was Saul of Tarsus, and he guides our hunt for our hints at that place. In making so he hews a way between traditional orthodoxy and reactionist fundamentalism and the desirous liberalism of the Jesus Seminar and what he calls the Q industry. Very interesting material. Akenson 's earlier Exceling Wonder sounds really interesting as good. I 'm non a pupil. I enjoy reading books about historical epochs that I like, although this is non truly one of them. The book was really good written but the authorship manner was instead academic. It was full of words I had ne'er seen before. I spent a batch of clip looking things up in the built in lexicon on my Kindle. There were besides a batch of words the lexicon had ne'er seen before. I have a really big vocabulary, so finding words that even the lexicon had ne'er seen before was instead amusing. He besides has the wont of explicating all of those new words in his text the first clip he uses them. You do n't truly necessitate the built in dictionary. Opened up a whole universe to me, the historical context of the Jesus chap, what was traveling on around him and would hold influenced his development. Saul ( Paul ) is revealed as the gospel author who lived most closely to this clip ( he did n't cognize Jesus, but he knew his brother! ) . He is a great character in his ain right ( rite? ) -- Akenson efficaciously portrays the adult male as a conflicted, complex adult male, a searcher, whose Gospel is most brooding of the temper and worlds of the times. This got to be difficult work by about two tierces of the manner through, as Akenson goes into the eternal scholarly and non-scholarly argument about the Gospels. Still, a absorbing read, in peculiar the disclosures ( no, non those 1s ) about the comparatively new constructs of a celestial hereafter and of one individual giving for another 's wickednesss which were being floated around the clip that Jesus arrived. Easily the BEST book on the historical Jesus I 've of all time read ( and as a once-upon-a-time grad pupil in divinity, I read rather a few ) . Akenson is a truly delicious author, electrifying the scholarship he surveys. Saint Saul is intentionally impartial as to affairs of religion, but brims with gusto and acid humor. His return on the Jesus Seminar is side-splitting, which ( to state the least ) is a compliment one seldom pays to works on Christology.
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