Jewish book: René Lévy’s Death Alive

Paul, or Saul of Tarsus, or Saint Paul ; by the speculative power and vigour of the verb, the true founder of Christianity. When he was young, he was a Hebrew, a citizen of Rome.

In Jerusalem, he was a pupil of the greatest of masters, Rabban Gamliel. A fierce zealot and persecutor of the Nazarenes, he knew Jewish law (Torah) and observed it scrupulously.

But his fervour did not hide a growing anxiety; the crisis broke out on the road to Damascus, then it was revelation. Paul was twenty-five years old. From persecutor, he became the most ardent apostle of the Church. In about ten epistles, he laid the foundations of Christianity.

Nourished by Hebrew culture, especially that of the Pharisees, and speaking Greek, Paul delivers a text that is often obscure, almost strange, as if the Hebrew, through underground pressure, disfigured the soil.

His discourse on the Law (Torah), crucial and so modern, is an example of this, but also his doctrines of death and resurrection, and of grace.

Through many obscurities, Paul of Tarsus remained misunderstood. In our essay, we wanted to go back over centuries of theology and New Testament studies to source ; the Pharisaic source, the Midrach and the Mishnah.

As far as possible, we avoided retrospective errors and we transported ourselves, so to speak, to him without luggage.

What do we have découvert ? That the crisis was serious and deep, that it was a crisis of conscience pharisienne ; and we have taken the measure of Paul’s dissent from Moses, of his powerful desire to tear himself away from religion. We discovered how much the messianic issue was and remains at the heart of Western history, but also at the heart of all true humanism.

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