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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Paul the Apostle: His Life and Legacy in Their Roman Context
Harrill, J. Albert

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012 pp. xvi + 207. £16.99


Description: This book is a controversial new biography of the apostle Paul that argues for his inclusion in the pantheon of key figures of classical antiquity, along with the likes of Socrates, Alexander the Great, Cleopatra and Augustus. It first provides a critical reassessment of the apostle's life in its historical context that focuses on Paul's discourse of authority, which was both representative of its Roman context and provocative to his rivals within Roman society. It then considers the legend that developed around Paul as the history of his life was elaborated and embellished by later interpreters, creating legends that characterized the apostle variously as a model citizen, an imperial hero, a sexual role model, an object of derision and someone to quote from. It is precisely this rewriting of Paul's history into legend that makes the apostle a key transformative figure of classical antiquity.

Subjects: Bible, New Testament, Acts, Pauline Epistles, Literature, Methods, Historical Approaches, History, Greco-Roman Period

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Review by Ross P. Ponder
Published 1/24/2014
Citation: Ross P. Ponder, review of J. Albert Harrill, Paul the Apostle: His Life and Legacy in Their Roman Context, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2014).


Review by James Harrison
Published 1/24/2014
Citation: James Harrison, review of J. Albert Harrill, Paul the Apostle: His Life and Legacy in Their Roman Context, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2014).


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