Great Lion of God Mass Market Paperback – Feb 12 1983
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The days of behemoth Biblical historicals - from The Big Fisherman to Miss Caldwell's own Dear and Glorious Physician (1959) - which flap damply in traditional sentimentality are far from over. And the author again takes advantage of the richly varied (and often conflicting) doctrine, revelation and history of the Bible to create her very own St. Paul. He, in her view, disliked the "militant Christians - who almost destroyed the infant Church with their dissents and protests and belligerence" (as per the introduction). She also insists that Jesus was "not concerned with this world." ("Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth. . . "?) However, old hand as she is at quoting Scripture and creating an easy, rhythmic flow of portentous dialogue, limning familiar doctrinal, affective postures, Miss Caldwell does evolve a cohesive portrait of Paul. Hounded by the rigors of a spiritual aridity, but reared in love of humanity by his father, Paul is still driven to persecute his own people to protect them from blasphemy. But on the road to Damascus. . . Paul's story concludes here with the beginnings of his ministry. A huge, sustained effort which takes some liberties, expands or contracts some episodes, but never fails to roll on like a summer Sunday full of pulpit certitudes for those of like mind and persuasions. A sizable and predictable market. (Kirkus Reviews) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Thus part one of this magnificent book starts with a quote about St. Paul by St. Augustine. I first read this book as a book report project when I was in ninth grade in the late 1970s. At the time, it was a life-changing book for me.
I learned from Caldwell about St. Paul the man - that he was a man of great passion, of fire and of longing. One who says what needs to be said no matter what the consequences to himself. Hah - one who can't help but say what needs to be said, actually! After reading this book I could never read or hear St. Paul's New Testament letters the same way. Now when I hear them read in church or read them on my own, I see the man of passion behind these letters. For this gift I am most grateful to Taylor Caldwell.
The book is a biography of St. Paul told in the form of a narrated story that begins with his birth and ends with him heading for Rome; a not dissimilar ending as that of the Acts of the Apostles, where Paul is in Rome waiting judgement by Caesar.
A good book. One of my favorites. So well written and so desiring to engage the reader that this book helped me get an "A+" on my long-ago ninth grade book report. :-)