Thursday 12 January 2017

The Catholic Perspective on Paul - Taylor R. Marshall - The Origins of Catholicism Book 2

The Catholic Perspective on Paul:
Paul and the Origins of Catholic Christianity 
The Origins of Catholicism Book 2
Taylor R. Marshall
Saint John Press
ISBN 9780578050164

I just did a quick count and I believe that I have read about 25 books on Pauline Theology over the last 19 years. When I returned to school as a mature student, in the spring of 1998, the first course I tool was RS209 Paul's Life and Letters, and the then I did an independent reading course RS393 Selected Reading's Paul's Life and Letters. It was sort of continuation with the instructor one on one. In fact I have written numerous paper on Paul and his theology, and Pauline Studies has remained a personal area of interest and study for the past 2 decades. Next to Jesus himself, Paul's thoughts, words and intentions are likely the most fought over, argued, loved and vilified in all of Christian history.

And it seems my love of Pauline studies only grows with my age. For this was the first of three books in my current reading list on Paul. It made it to the top of the pile for a few reasons. First everything I have read; both theology and fiction; by Dr. Taylor Marshall I have loved. Second this is the first book that tries to examine Paul from his place not only as a strong influencer of early Christianity but as a Catholic. This book is not a biography of Paul, it is not just a theological examination of some of Paul's writings isolated from their times. It is in fact a study of Paul and how his writings fit in with early Catholic teachings and the continued Catholic Teachings down through the ages.   

Of special interest were Marshall's writings and interview regarding how N.T. Wright's works and their impact in leading Dr. Marshall to the Catholic Church. For in part it was my own Pauline Studies that led me in school to leave the pursuit of becoming an Anglican Priest and return to the Catholic Church. The three appendices of which the first is 10 Catholic Questions for N.T. Wright, the Second is a Pauline Timeline and the third is a Concordance of Saint Paul's Doctrine will be of extra interest to any serious Pauline Scholar. In fact Dr. Marshall's timeline and mine, written in 2001,  fall with a year or two of each other.

But this book tackles a lot of big topic's in the realm of Paul and Catholicism. The chapters in this book are:
How I Discovered the Catholic Paul Introduction   
1. Rabbi Saul and the Apostle Paul 
2. Paul on the Catholic Church 
3. Paul on Justification, Faith & Works 
4. Paul on Baptism & Regeneration 
5. Paul on Falling from Grace & Reconciliation 
6. Paul on Purgatory & Prayer for the Dead 
7. Paul on the Eucharistic Sacrifice 
8. Paul on the Priesthood 
9. Paul on Holy Matrimony as Sacrament 
10. Paul on Human Sexuality 
11. Paul on the Communion of the Saints 
12. The Martyrdom & Death of Paul   
Epilogue: The Catholic Paul within a Trilogy   
Appendix 1: 10 Catholic Questions for N.T. Wright 
Appendix 2: Timeline of the Life of Saint Paul 
Appendix 3: Concordance of Saint Paul's Doctrine

Dr. Marshall's examination of protestant claims on Paul, will open the readers eyes. If you are already a devoted Catholic this book will help you understand some of our history. If you a non-Catholic Christian than this book will challenge a lot of what you have been taught and might believe.

This book was an excellent start to my reading year theologically. And I look forward to reading the other two books by Dr. Marshall in his The Origins of Catholicism series. I highly recommend this book to every Pauline Scholar, and to any Christian who wishes to understand the beginnings of our tradition better! 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2017 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Taylor R. Marshall:
Thomas Aquinas in 50 Pages: The Layman's Quick Guide to Thomism
Saint Augustine in 50 Pages: The Layman's Quick Guide to Augustinianism
God's Birthday: Why Christ Was Born on December 25 and Why it Matters

Infiltration: The Plot to Destroy the Church from Within
The Rosary in 50 Pages: The Layman’s Quick Guide to Mary’s Psalter

Sword and Serpent Series:
Sword and the Serpent
The Tenth Region of the Night
Storm of Fire and Blood

The Origins of Catholic Christianity Series:
The Crucified Rabbi: Judaism and the Origins of Catholic Christianity
The Catholic Perspective on Paul: Paul and the Origins of Catholic Christianity
The Eternal City: Rome & the Origins of Catholic Christianity

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