Paul Has Arrived!
by James Tabor
The first-off-the-press advanced copies of my new book, Paul and Jesus arrived today! It has been a long wait for some who ordered back in 2010 but the book will officially be released on November 13th–less than a month away. It is always a thrill to hold these 1st copies in ones hands. For me this book is a culmination of a lifetime “Quest for the historical Paul,” taking me back to undergraduate days at Abilene Christian University with the late beloved Abraham Malherbe, as well as my University of Chicago dissertation on Paul directed by Jonathan Z. Smith–to whom this book is humbly dedicated.
You can order now at great pre-publication prices as much as 45% off at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound and most other bookstores or on-line services. It is also available in e-book, or CD-audio formats.
Here are a few tantalizing lines from the Preface:
I have spent my thirty-year career as a scholar of Christian Origins investigating the silence between two back-to-back statements of the Apostles’ Creed, namely that Jesus was: “Conceived by the Holy Ghost, Born of the Virgin Mary,” and that he “Was crucified, dead and buried, and on the third day He rose again from the dead.”
Is it not striking that this oldest and most foundational Christian creed jumps from Jesus’ birth to his death and resurrection, entirely skipping over his life?
How did it happen that the way Jesus came into the world, and how he left—Christmas and Easter—came to define Christianity itself? Here Catholics, mainstream Protestants, and Evangelicals all agree. To be a Christian is to believe in the virgin birth and resurrection of Christ, and thus to participate in the salvation Christ brought to the world as God-in-the-flesh. Where did this emphasis on the “entrance” and “exit” points of Jesus’ heavenly existence come from, and how did it achieve such centrality—even above that of Jesus’ life and teachings?
This book is an historical investigation of the origins of this particular way of defining and understanding Christianity. As we shall see, such an understanding of the Christian faith, confessed by millions each week in church services all over the world, originates from the experiences and ideas of one man—Saul of Tarsus, better known as the apostle Paul—not from Jesus himself, or from Peter, John, or James, or any of the original apostles that Jesus chose in his lifetime. And further, I maintain that there was a version of “Christianity before Paul,” affirmed by both Jesus and his original followers, with tenets and affirmations quite opposite to these of Paul. This is the lost and forgotten Christianity of James, the brother of Jesus, leader of the movement following Jesus’ death, as well as Peter and all the apostles. In other words, the message of Paul, that created Christianity as we know it, and the message of the historical Jesus and his earliest followers, were sharply opposed to one another with little in common beyond the name “Jesus” itself. Discovering how such a state of affairs came about has been the quest, as well as the adventure, of my life.