In Saint Saul, Donald Harman Akenson offers a lively and provocative account of what we can learn about Jesus by reading the letters of Paul. As the only direct evidence of Jesus we have that were composed before the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE forever altered the outlook of the Christian and Jewish faiths, Akenson claims that these letters are the most reliable source of information. He dismisses the traditional method of searching for facts about Jesus by looking for parallels among the four gospels because they were handed down to us as a unit by a later generation. Akenson painstakingly recreates the world of Christ, a time rich with ideas, prophets, factions, priests, savants, and god-drunk fanatics. He insistently stresses throughout the Jewishness of Jesus, referring to Jesus and Paul as Yeshua and Saul, as they were then known. As an eminent historian, Akenson approaches his subject with a fresh eye and a scholarly rigor that is all too rare in this hotly disputed field.
Donald Harman Akenson is Professor of History at Queen's University, Kingston (Canada), and Beamish Professor of Irish Studies at the University of Liverpool, England. A senior editor at McGill-Queen's University Press, he is an award-winning author of numerous books on a wide range of topics, including Surpassing Wonder: The Invention of the Bible and the Talmuds.
"From his double-take title through more than 300 zestful pages, Donald Akenson startles us with one fresh insight after another...Saint Saul
is an engaging book for anyone willing to take on the current challenges in the quest for Jesus."--Christian Science Monitor
"Saint Saul is resoundingly fresh in its current contributions to literature and, once again, Akenson has written of thorny and difficult questions with rollicking good humour and grace that reaches the depths of seriousness without false solemnity. Saint Saul
is a splendid book."--T.F. Rigelhof