The Apostle Reinterpreted and Reimagined
in his own Time
2010 / ISBN 0375425012
Non-Fiction / Religion / History
by Carmen Ferreiro
Saint Paul, known as the apostle of the gentiles,
was a first century AD Roman Jew who in his youth persecuted Jesus'
followers. One day, on his way to Damascus, he had a vision in which
Jesus confronted him and he converted to the new Faith, becoming,
from then on, one of the most outspoken apostles (apostle meaning
one who is sent forth as a messenger).
His epistles or letter are an important part of
the New Testament. In them, Paul shares his views on what it means
to be a Christian and how to live according to Jesus' teachings.
Traditionally, Paul's writings have been interpreted as opposing
women's or gay rights and a general enjoyment of life.
According to Sarah Ruden this interpretation is
Ms. Ruden who understands Greek, Latin and Aramaic
has gone to the original letters and by challenging the translation
of the words that had created this perception, challenges the real
meaning of Paul's writings. It's not only that the words had been
mistranslated to the point of changing their meaning, but that life
in the first century AD was so different from our Western XXI world
that there is no accurate translation.
The Roman Empire in the first Century AD was a brutal
world where, women were property, slaves were objects, and pederasty
was an uncontested right for the masters. In this context, when
Paul, in his letters, opposes homosexuality what he is really against
is the abuse of boy slaves by their owners, and when he condemns
parties, he is condemning orgies, where rich men destroyed property
and used women and boys for their drunken pleasure.
Ms. Ruden graphically
shows us these customs by including excerpts from classic texts
she has herself translated into plain English. Paul Among the
People is an amazing window into the past that shocked and
amazed me. Thought provoking and highly entertaining this is a book
to read and reread for it goes down to the roots of what it means
not only to be a Christian but a human being as well.
Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban is the author of a YA fantasy Two Moon
Princess and four nonfiction titles.