With nearly one million copies printed worldwide since 1996, Walter Wangerin Jr. and his critically acclaimed, award-winning narrative, The Book of God, have helped readers around the world find fresh perspective on the Bible. Now Wangerin’s long-awaited second volume of scripture-based narrative is giving readers a new vision of the Apostle Paul in a novel entitled Paul: A Novel (Zondervan, August 2000). Wangerin’s carefully researched, vivid volume gives flesh and blood, passion and reason to this Pharisee-turned-Apostle whose ancient letters still instruct Christians around the globe.
Paul: A Novel plunges readers into the world and culture of the early church, revealing the challenges Jesus’ followers experienced after His ascension. Persecution from Jewish leaders was just one concern of the early Christians; they were also debating the validity of gentile conversion, the place of Torah since Messiah had come, and who should wear the mantle of authority in defining doctrine and morality. So when Saul, one of the persecutors, joins their ranks through a miraculous conversion, church leaders are concerned he will fan the flames of violent debate. While revealing the layers of Paul’s complex life and relationships, Wangerin opens readers’ senses to the sights, sounds, and emotion that filled the streets of Jerusalem in that day.
Wangerin’s signature talent for creating unforgettable characters through vivid detail and rich emotion is again revealed in his portrait of Paul. Against the backdrop of an increasingly tyrannical Roman Empire, Wangerin weaves a tapestry of historical fact and human drama that unfolds as the biography of the Apostle Paul. Readers will read Scripture with renewed understanding and deeper interest once they have viewed Paul as a friend, a brother, a single-minded leader, and a flawed, scarred defender of the Gospel. Readers will see Paul’s New Testament epistles as they were intended: letters from a friend.
Paul: A Novel is divided into chapters that issue from several of Paul’s acquaintances, including Prisca and Aquila, James, Timothy, Barnabas, Luke and Jude. Their voices describe Paul from myriad perspectives, simultaneously adding their personal emotions and stories to the apostle’s biography. These unique chapters recount the major events in Paul’s life, such as:
· The stoning of Stephen during Paul’s days as a zealous Pharisee
· The life-changing revelation of Jesus on the road to Damascus
· The disappointing division between Barnabas and Paul
· Timothy’s conversion and travels with his gentile-loving friend
· The continuing clash with church leaders who subjected gentile believers to the keeping of Torah
· The tortuous debates over old tradition and new freedom that rocked the church leaders
· The friendship and sacrifice of fellow craftsmen Prisca and Aquila
· The electric confrontation with false teachers in Corinth
· The inevitable arrest and imprisonment of the aging apostle
Walter Wangerin Jr. is a master storyteller, dramatic performer and an award-winning writer who has written nearly thirty books for children and adults. He currently holds the Jochum Chair at Valparaiso University in Indiana where his is writer-in-residence and a professor of writing and literature. His award-winning The Book of God has nearly one million copies in print since 1996. Some of his most well-known fans include authors such as Phillip Yancey, Eugene Peterson, and Leonard Sweet.