Religion of Paul the Apostle

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Religion of Paul the Apostle
Paul the Apostle has traditionally been viewed as a thinker and theologian, and scholars have focused almost exclusively on his ideas rather than on his religious experience. In this book, a leading New Testament scholar challenges this view of Paul. John Ashton demonstrates how closely Paul's own career resembles that of a typical shaman, and he shows how every important aspect of Paul's life and ministry may be illuminated by focusing on his experience. Drawing not only on Paul's letters but also on contemporary writings in the Jewish and Hellenistic worlds, Ashton discusses a number of important issues relevant to the understanding of Paul and to the origins of Christianity: whether Paul is properly described as a convert, a mystic, an apostle, a prophet, or a charismatic; what his attitude was to the Jewish traditions he inherited; why he felt called upon to preach, not to his fellow Jews, but to the Gentiles; and how we can explain his language of spirit-possession. In addressing these issues, Ashton demonstrates that to regard Christianity simply as a religion of the word is to ignore a vital truth about its origins. John Ashton was Lecturer in New Testament Studies in the University of Oxford, and is now Emeritus Fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford. He is the author of important books on St John's Gospel, and editor and introducer of the volume 'The Interpretation of John'.
Publication Date: 
September 20, 2000