Historical Who is Who
c.10 - 65
By birth and education Jewish (Saul), but converting to a Christian (Paul) version of this faith. He sets this out both episodically and systematically in letters now contained in the New Testament, the earliest of which date from less than 20 years after the death of Jesus. The later biographical account of his life, travels and teaching is contained in the NT Acts of the Apostles. It is difficult to overestimate his significance for the emergence of Christianity as a religious tradition in its own right, wherein the calling, responsibilities and future promise as previously a Jewish preserve, maintained by maternal birthright and circumcision, are held open to non-Jews/Gentiles. Notions of love, conscience and mutual obligation are central to his thinking, and the impending judgement of God exposes injustice and the existing inadequacies of contemporary social order including inequalities and slavery. Paul has continued to be a contentious figure over 2000 years, inspiring to some, dangerously misleading to others. No view is more strange than that of the group which sees Vladimir Putin as his reincarnation.