A major study of the apostle to the Gentiles, combining exceptional scholarship with an unusual approach. Schoeps interprets Paul’s theology in the light of his Jewish background, which coloured and conditioned his Christological teaching. Paul’s conception of Jesus differs from that of the Synoptics: what and how extensive the difference is and whence it is derived are among the questions Schoeps examines.
After surveying major problems in Pauline research, the Author relates the apostle to primitive Christianity, discussing his eschatology and his teachings on salvation, the law, and saving history. The final chapter shows that Paul’s distinctive doctrines result from two converging factors, that Paul never saw Jesus in the flesh, and the influence of Jewish teaching. The consequence was his concern with the resurrected Saviour of the world, the pre-existent and eternal Son of God. Schoeps shows that Paul betrayed a fundamental misconception of the law and the covenantal agreement between God and his chosen people. The result is a thought-provoking, and somewhat startling, study of the first, the greatest, and the most difficult of all Christian theologians.