An intimate portrait of a complex individual through whom God was at work, turning the world upside down. With vivid imagination and scholarly depth, award-winning author Walter Wangerin Jr. weaves together the history of the early church with the life story of its greatest apostle--Paul. Wangerin begins to unfold Paul’s incredible life by imagining the childhood and early family life of a boy then called "Saul." A fierce prosecutor of Christians before his conversion, Paul never lost his fiery dedication, boldness, and strong personality. After his shocking encounter with God on the road to Damascus, he applied his formidable strengths to spreading the gospel. Wangerin deftly reveals Paul’s character through each stage of his life, and enables us to see Paul the person, living and complex, viewed through the eyes of his contemporaries: Barnabas, James, Prisca, Seneca, and Luke. Paul’s rich interaction and brilliant dialogue with friends and foes, leaders and slaves, Jews and Greeks, creates a swift and intense historical drama around the man who spread the seed of the Gospel to the ends of the known world.
Yet what do we know about the man, other than what's in the letters that have fashioned the Christian church for 2,000 years? Unless you are a theologian or historian, the answer probably is very little--until now. Walter Wangerin, the highly acclaimed scholar and writer, has breathed new life into this fiery, enigmatic, and passionate creature in what should be celebrated as a seriously good work of literature.
The novel, which combines expert knowledge and prophetic imagination, charts the first exhilarating and dangerous years of the church after the death of Christ. It is seen through the eyes of the witnesses--Priscilla, who meets Paul in Corinth; Barnabus, Timothy, and Titus, his companions; James and Simon Peter, the "pillar" of the first Christians; and Seneca, the great Roman writer, statesman, and adviser to Nero.
Wangerin serves up a feast of color and detail that brings the first century--and, even more impressively, the Bible--alive. Whatever your religious persuasion, this book serves as a fine companion to the one of the greatest yet most puzzling stories ever told. --Brian Draper, Amazon.co.uk