We don’t usually highlight books on here, but we’ve just finished a new book by Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan that deserves a mention. Entitled The First Paul, its sub-title describes what it sets out to do: Reclaiming the radical visionary behind the Church’s conservative icon. Of course, Borg and Crossan have something of a reputation for being radical themselves, but this is not one of those books that just holds a mirror up to its authors. They make some surprisingly conservative assertions, among which they strongly affirm that, far from corrupting the simple message of Jesus (as many have thought), Paul is a faithful interpreter and follower of the historical Jesus – and both of them were seriously radical, challenging the ways of being of the Roman empire and insisting instead on a different worldview focused on “God’s passionate desire to heal a broken world”. These guys know their stuff in relation to Roman history and culture, and they also offer some seriously detailed insights into the text of Paul’s writings.
We’ll not say more as that would spoil it for you. But prepare to be both challenged and inspired. We were – and we loved it.