Joseph Callewaert's engaging work on St. Paul reads like a novel. With inviting, even dramatic, prose, it recounts the story of the great Apostle to the Nations. This is no dry tome or ponderous biography. Nor is its subject a "safe" historical figure, irrelevant to the issues of today: St. Paul remains controversial.
Some scholars claim he "invented" Christianity. They believe his message radically departed from what Jesus taught. The Christian faith, so the claim runs, is the creation of Paul's religious experience, not the doctrine of Jesus. Callewaert rejects this theory, as do many other scholars. His interpretation rests on the Bible and the abiding tradition of the ages, rather than tendentious theories or ideologically-motivated revisions.
Yet Callewaert's work is no anti-scholarly screed. The World of Saint Paul provides a popular, yet expert account of the Apostle and his age. For those who know little about St. Paul-which includes many Christians-it is a superb introduction.
"In my presentation of St. Paul, I have tried to absorb the spirit of his epoch as far as I could, and put less trust in the present-day judgments than in the abiding traditions of the ages. If I have perhaps evoked a little too much history and pursued rather too long a road in regions so rich with a past, I have always made sure to trace a path which brings us back to this intrepid and tenacious Jew who will steadily
appear in stark relief."