Did St Paul Get Jesus Right?: The Gospel According to St Paul by David Wenham, Lion Hudson, Oxford, 2010; 160 pages, ISBN 0745962483, paperback $12.95.

St Paul wrote one quarter of the content of the New Testament, and some authors have contended that whilst Jesus was a great spiritual teacher who exemplified kindness and tolerance, Paul invented the idea that Jesus was God and therefore radically changed Jesus’ message, resulting in the monumental Christian Church we see today. This theory of Paul as the founder of Christianity has found its way into academia, churches, newspapers and the hugely popular novels and films by author Dan Brown. New Testament scholar and Christian theologian David Wenham argues against this notion, and this book is a thorough examination of this what scholars know about Jesus and Paul by one who is sympathetic to Paul as a true representative of Jesus' original teachings. However, after reading this book, I think that the best advice anyone could have about Christianity is to read the Bible for yourself and make up your own mind.

I believe that this question of the creation of a religion from a genuine spiritual Master’s teaching is especially important for theosophists as it points to the possibility of a religion being made from the information made available by the Masters of Wisdom expressed in theosophical books. The theosophical Masters said pointedly that they did not want to encourage any more "priests for a priest-ridden world" and that it was up to each individual to seek their salvation thorough their own self-directed efforts and individual relationship with divinity rather than the intervention of a church or religious system established on the basis of theosophical information. This latter appears to be what happened with the Christian dispensation 2,000 years ago due to the influence of great disseminators of Christianity such as St. Paul. Will we as theosophists today consciously or unconsciously encourage this to happen again? Andrew Rooke

Book Reviews