Week 10: Paul Among the People: the Apostle Reinterpreted and Reimagined in His Own Time, by Sarah Ruden
Sarah Ruden is a classical scholar who usually does things like translating the Aeneid. But she got interested in St. Paul's modern reputation as a 'grumpy-pants' oppressor who took all the love out of Christianity. Ruden realized that most peoples' ignorance about Greco-Roman culture makes it difficult for us to understand what Paul was trying to say to his Greek and Roman converts. So in this short, readable volume, she takes on the most prominent misunderstandings of Paul and describes the culture he was fighting.
Be warned--that culture was pretty horrible in many ways, and Ruden is describing some very unpleasant things. She calls the Romans "kindergarteners with knives" for good reason. But she has a witty, enjoyable style and it's a great book that kept me riveted. I'm glad my mom and I bought it; I'll definitely be going back to it again.
Bonus book: Alan Mendelsohn, Boy from Mars by Daniel Pinkwater.
I do so love Pinkwater, and my older daughter just read Alan Mendelsohn for the first time! So I read it again. It's always been one of my favorites, just below the Snarkout Boys books. I wish I could have chili and corn muffins for dinner!