The Apostle Paul

The Apostle Paul

Historian Luke Timothy Johnson, the best-selling author of The Real Jesus, offers a fresh and historically grounded assessment of the life and letters of Christianity's "apostle to the Gentiles" in this 12-lecture series.

"One of the most fascinating, important, and controversial figures in the religious history of the West, Paul the Apostle continues to find champions and detractors, sometimes in surprising places," says Professor Johnson.

Is he best understood from the Acts of the Apostles or from his letters?

You explore his religious commitments as a member of the Pharisaic movement, his persecution of the Christian sect, the dramatic experience that changed him into an apostle, and his work as a missionary and church founder.

As a Pharisaic persecutor of Christianity who became one of its most vocal and active exponents, as a Jew who preached to Gentiles, and as a missionary and pastor who had to deal with a wide range of demanding situations across several decades and many miles, it is hardly surprising that Paul should attract a body of critics and defenders who are as numerous and intense as his stature is titanic.

The 13 letters associated with Paul, together with the large sections of the Acts of the Apostles that recount his missionary journeys, form the bulk of the New Testament.

His writings-nearly all of which were set down and circulated before the Gospels were written-have been endly scoured as sources for Christian doctrine and morals.

Modern thinkers inclined to fault Christianity-Nietzsche, Freud, and George Bernard Shaw, to name three of the more famous-often save their most intense scrutiny for Paul, whose views on issues of morality, sex, and authority continue to be contentious.

The Heart and Mind of a Pastor Yet amid all the controversy around Paul, we tend to ignore the things which most concerned him, namely, the stability and integrity of the tiny Christian communities to which he wrote his letters.

Professor Johnson aims to rectify this by focusing precisely on these letters to learn something about Paul in the context of early Christianity.

In what sense is Paul a "radical," and in what sense does he mean his letters to have "conservative" implications?

What relation do Paul's preaching and writings about the risen Christ have to the Jesus whose words and deeds we read of in the Gospels?

As you join Professor Johnson in reading Paul's letters as individual literary compositions devoted to solving the urgent pastoral problems of the Christian communities he was nurturing, you begin to hear Paul's voice speaking to real-life situations and genuine crises.

A Portrait Drawn from Life Such reading yields a picture of Paul that is far more complex than any stereotype, whether positive or negative.

You discover a Paul who writes to relieve a community's mind (1 Thessalonians) only to find that he has inflamed its imagination (2 Thessalonians).

And you see a Paul who finds himself imprisoned, "an apostle in chains," yet who uses his very confinement to expand his witness and set forth his vision of Christ's church as a sacrament of the world's best possibilities (Colossians, Ephesians).

Perhaps most provocatively, Professor Johnson parts company with much modern scholarship by arguing that Paul, though he may not have literally written any of his letters, should nonethe be considered the true author of all.

"The only requirement for this course is the willingness to journey along with Paul as he thinks his way through the problems he faces," says Professor Johnson.

"The payoff is learning why Paul has had such an enormous influence, and why he remains a vital force in the religious life of millions, a living voice whose summoning words sustain Christian communities to this day and subvert all tendencies to reduce Christianity to a form of religious routineGreat Courses #657

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So far Ive listened to this course twice, some lectures three times. I still want to listen again with dear husband and also check out more courses and books by this author. 2.Paul was a rhetorician, i.e., someone skilled at the art of developing and delivering arguments. Therefore, in reading St. Pauls letters, it is necessary first of all to keep in mind that his writing, sentence structure and word choice took rhetorical rules as their basis. Each letter needs to be read on its own within the context of its unique situation. (Galatians) 6.Pauls authorship of the Pastoral Letters was never challenged until the 1800s and and he offers several reasons why we may reconsider that challenge today. Have set it aside, but I want to go through it again after I listen to Saint Paul.

The Apostle Paul was a course taught by Luke Timothy Johnson. Pr. Johnson lets you know right away that Paul was a controversial figure then and today. It was Paul who in many of his letters defines today's Christianity. Each of the Bible chapters attributed to Paul was covered by Pr. Timothy Luke Johnson and explained and placed into context. Luke Timothy Johnson's Great Course on the Apostle Paul really helped me put a lot of New Testament in context, explain its significance and explain Paul's importance to Christianity.

Since Paul is responsible for writing a large portion of the New Testament, and Prof Johnson is an engaging and well-spoken lecturer, I figured that these lectures would serve me well on my search. Paul, being the Jew that he was, sought ways to not so much convert but to include the Jews to a new religious point of view....offering a forgiving god rather than a wrathful god. So he is responsible for the formation of Christianity and authored much of the New Testament.

He argues that Paul as a rhetorician uses the methodology of rhetoric to change "his voice" in his various letters.

The author's approach is presented in a manner that does not produce the typical background of defensive thought I sometimes find myself conducting while reading other scholars of historical analysis.

  • Religion

  • Rating: 4.02
  • Publish Date: January 1st 2001 by The Great Courses
  • Isbn10: 1565853679
  • Isbn13: 9781565853676