Adult Education
Join us at 9:00 am most Sundays from September through June for discusions with the Rector or guest speakers.  See calendar for more information
Paul, the Apostle

“He ‘invented’ Christianity. He arrogantly took the religion of Jesus and turned it into a religion about Jesus, distorted Jewish biblical faith, and created a hoax. His authoritarian rantings denigrated his opponents, derided Jews, and denied women the equality that Jesus demanded.”
 
These are only some of the charges brought against a first century Jew by the name of Paul, originally from what is now Turkey—  an extraordinary traveler through the Mediterranean world and prodigious writer of letters. Others consider Paul a faithful interpreter of the message that the first followers of Jesus handed on to him, and more than that, that Paul himself received a direct revelation from the resurrected Jesus.

We will look at the controversy that has swirled around Paul since his own lifetime to the present. We will consider the claims made about Paul and try to assess them using the tools of modern historical research. We will look at the core of his thought and trace how it changed over his life, ending in his execution by the man he hoped to convert, the Emperor of Rome, Caesar. And we will ask why he was executed. In this question we will discover perhaps the most surprising connection to the historical Jesus that virtually all commentators of the past didn't see, and that we only know now because of new methods of social and historical research.

No matter what one thinks about Paul and his writing, he is a giant, intellectually, spiritually, even poetically. His importance may be impossible to overstate, as there simply is no way to understand or account for the rise of Western civilization and Christianity around the world without coming to grips with the figure of Paul the Apostle.

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