Paul: A Study in Social and Religious History

Paul: A Study in Social and Religious History

Paul: A Study in Social and Religious History

Paul: A Study in Social and Religious History

Excerpt

An Anatolian, Paul, a man of the ancients, a homonovus, rising from the mass of the insignificant many, heeded by no man of letters among his pagan contemporaries, yet destined to be a leading personality in the world's history; a homo religiosus at once a classic of mysticism and a most practical man of affairs; a prophet and dreamer, crucified to the world in Christ, yet for ever memorable as a citizen of the world and traveller in it, and still moulding the world at the present moment--such is the man whose outlines I have been seeking to portray. After long years devoted to the study of the ancient records of Paul and their modern interpreters, it was my rare good fortune to find a new teacher to supplement those to whom I shall always look up with gratitude, the old teachers at home. This new teacher is in no sense academic: paper and paragraphs are unknown to her; all that she teaches she dispenses with generous hand in the bright sunshine and open air--she is in fact the world of the South and East, the world of Paul. If the western stranger approach this mistress but reverently beneath the olivetrees, she will gladly, and with a mother's joy, speak to him of her great son.

Two journeys to the East, in 1906 and 1909, enabled me to realise the long-cherished hope of seeing with my own eyes the places where the primitive gospel was preached and Paul's life-work was done. With some small exceptions I visited all the places of importance in the primitive history of Christianity, and I think I may say that I gained a general impression of the structure of the Pauline world which to me personally has increased in value and effect from year to year. There . . .

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