The Angry World of Early Christianity: Download the Free e-Book Here
by James Tabor
Professor Barrie Wilson, whose book, How Jesus Became Christian I recommended here as my “Book of the Week” pick, has a another book, Paul on Trial, that you can download as an free book (PDF file) at his web site here. It is a fascinating historical novel about Paul and his conflicts with the earliest followers of Jesus. It is just over 100 pages and a real page turner. You don’t want to miss this one! Below is Prof. Wilson’s description.
Paul on Trial: An Historical Novel that Explores the Angry World of Early Christianity
Rabbi Mattai and his family are traditional Jews who belong to the Community of The Way. They are among the first followers of Jesus (Yeshua) and his brother James (Ya’akov) in Jerusalem. In 68 CE with Jerusalem beset by civil war, Zealot anarchy on the streets, and an imminent Roman invasion, they flee for their lives and head up the coast to Antioch-on-the-Orontes. They have only their meager possessions and, a very valuable scroll carefully preserved in a leather pouch. Rachel, Mattai’s wife, is glad to be leaving Jerusalem – too many dreamers there all bent on pursing the messianic era which she dismisses as “totally impractical.”
Upon arrival in Antioch they meet up with an old friend, Onias and his family. They are amazed at the plurality of religions-Temples to Artemis, Apollo, Dionysus, Mithras, Isis – as well as synagogues of every variety of Judaism including their own. One Sabbath morning, a disturbance breaks out in the Synagogue of the Community of The Way in Antioch. Leaders of the Gentile Congregation of the Christ, Evodius the elder and young and rather immature Ignatius, enter and confront Mattai and other members of the synagogue.
Mattai is forced to bring out the hidden scroll, the only surviving record, it appears, of those fateful days in the late 40’s when Paul was hauled before James and other members of The Community of The Way in Jerusalem. It tells us the story of what really went on at that 3-day conference. This takes Evodius and Ignatius aback.
But, it turns out, Mattai and his group were in for a surprise of their own.