In Paul Among the People, Sarah Ruden explores the writings of the evangelist Paul in the context of his time and culture, to recover his original message of freedom and love while overturning the common—and fundamental—misconception that Paul represented a puritanical, hysterically homophobic, misogynist, or reactionary vision.
By setting famous and controversial words of Paul against ancient Greek and Roman literature, Ruden reveals a radical message of human freedom and dignity at the heart of Paul’s preaching. Her training in the Classics allows her to capture the stark contrast between Paul’s Christianity and the violence, exploitation, and dehumanization permeating the Roman Empire in his era. In contrast to later distortions, the vision of Christian life Ruden finds in Paul is centered on equality before God and the need for people to love one another.
A remarkable work of scholarship, synthesis, and understanding, Paul Among the People recaptures the moral urgency and revolutionary spirit that made Christianity such a shock to the ancient world and laid the foundation of the culture in which we live today.
About the Author
Sarah Ruden, poet and essayist, received her Ph.D. in Classics from Harvard University.
Praise for Sarah Ruden:
Paul Among the People
“Ruden offers a wholly fresh reinterpretation of Paul’s most controversial writings.” –Washington Post
“Ruden is winningly intimate as well as impressively scholarly in this superb book.” –Booklist
“The most exciting book of historical analysis I’ve read in ages – indeed the most exciting book period … What makes reading Ruden such a pleasure, aside from the quality of her thinking and her prose, is her willingness to question settled truths, and to do it with such a lightness of spirit.” –Rod Dreher, Beliefnet
“Wonderfully unexpected.” –Christianity Today
“The best translation yet, certainly the best of our time.” –Ursula K. Le Guin
“The first translation since Dryden’s that can be read as a great English poem in itself.” –Garry Wills, The New York Review of Books
“An Aeneid more intimate in tone and soberer in measure than we are used to—a gift for which many will be grateful.” –J. M. Coetzee
“An intimate rendering of great emotional force and purity . . . The immediacy, beauty, and timelessness of the original Latin masterpiece lifts off these pages with gemlike originality.” –Choice
“A perfect Lysistrata for the new millennium: rich apparatus and a sparkling, metrical, accurate translation of this inexhaustible treasure of a play.” –Rachel Hadas, Rutgers University
“Ruden has caught, better than any translator known to me, both the conversational patterns of Petronian dialogue and the camera-sharp specificity and color of the Satyricon’s descriptive pages . . . A quite extraordinary achievement.” –Peter Green, Los Angeles Book Review
“Relying on her excellent knowledge of Latin, her lively feel for contemporary slang and rhythm, and her infectious love of the work, Ruden gives us the full Satyricon . . . Her book, breathing knowledge and affection, is a delight.” –Donald Lyons, The New Criterion