"Paul did not invent the faith of the early Church in the continuing reality and presence of Jesus. If Paul became in his own lifetime the most articulate spokesmen for this faith, he was never much more than an articulator who knew how to zero in on the most essential argument and could thread his discourse with the welcome colors of his own very personal experience. If Paul had never left the Pharisaical school, the Jesus Movement that became Christianity would have survived and probably even prospered (if with a more limited scope), but it would have been a Christianity that lacked (at least for some time) Paul's intellectual edge as well as his emotional edginess.
"For beyond his education, by which he intertwined antiquity's most rigorous intellectual traditions, we cannot neglect to consider the man's natural temper: neither flatterer nor diplomat, neither charmer nor salesman, Paul was not the sort of man you would immediately associate with the effort to pitch a new idea, let alone a whole new worldview and way of life. Devoid of small talk, anecdotes, and the sort of chatter that puts people at their ease, Paul was an either/or kind of guy, an absolutist for whom the matter under discussion would always be All or Nothing. An intellectual overachiever, pushed repeatedly to success by a keenly competitive father, Paul had no time for ordinary social niceties and neither gave nor expected to receive normal social comforts. One can imagine him sitting uncomfortably in some conventional parlor, staring penetratingly at his hostess while trying to find some Meaning in her inquiry as to whether he took one lump or two."
pg.120 Desire of The Everlasting Hills by Thomas Cahill
Past Post: Why I Like the Apostle Paul