How to Like Paul Again: The Apostle You Never Knew: The Apostle You Never Knew by Conrad Gempf
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Book description: You know you're supposed to like him, but you just don't. Maybe it's the authoritarianism, maybe it's the arrogance, maybe it's the views he seems to hold, maybe it's the way that he drones on and on until you're falling asleep. Well ... you're not the only one. None of that is new. Not even the last bit (see Acts 20:9). But there's a secret to liking an initially unlikeable person like Paul: walk a mile in his moccasins. Or three. This small book aims to take you inside three controversies that Paul faced. Would you have advised him to do anything differently? Would you have done as well as he did? This is a quick and entertaining introduction to the letters of Paul, from which you'll also learn about yourself.
My review: I completely understand why people are rating this book 5 stars. I think it is a must read for anyone new to reading/interpreting the Bible (particularly the Pauline letters) so they avoid flat fundamentalist proof-text readings of the texts. The author takes an excellent approach to hermeneutics and exegesis and does it in very plain, conversational language. For me, personally, however, the style irritated me - I felt like it was a bit forced at times trying to make it conversational and simple. So please don't misunderstand me - the 3 stars is my rating for myself. I liked the book but didn't love it. However, I highly recommend it for someone new to the Bible or who have been "infected" with simplistic approaches to it. If a reader is already knowledgeable about appropriate approaches to interpreting ancient texts and arrived at a historico-grammatical reading of the text, they would probably be a bit bored with it. So - highly recommended as an introduction to responsible reading of the Pauline letters!
View all my reviews