"Paul's life, of which we get snippets from his letters and also from the accounts of others about him, was a dramatic one. Robert Orlando takes those details, and the insights and interpretations of scholars, and weaves them together with the skill of a filmmaker to provide a compelling narrative of Paul's life, his aims, his struggles."
--James McGrath, Butler University, Indianapolis, IN
"At a time when the academy touts 'life-long learning' and 'public humanities' and yet rarely takes independent scholarship seriously, professional scholars should not overlook Robert Orlando's A Polite Bribe, the culmination of years of research sparked by a college course. He is a more than capable student of Paul and Pauline scholarship who ardently and articulately makes a plausible case for what might have happened to Paul. . . . Those who already find Paul intriguing will find him only more so in A Polite Bribe. As a companion to Orlando's documentary, this is a very useful introduction or follow-up. See the film. Read the book."
--Corrie Norman, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
"Robert Orlando combines the best traditions of historical criticism with an astounding knowledge of the history of research to provide an in-depth look into Paul that I have not seen in scholarship during the last decades. I recommend his book, A Polite Bribe, with the utmost enthusiasm. A book where scholars and laypersons alike are given the unique chance to meet Paul again for the first time. This truly 'new narrative' of early Christianity has my full endorsement."
--Gerd Ludemann, from the foreword
"A Polite Bribe may be the most unique book ever written about the apostle Paul. . . . Drawing from the work of many diverse scholars and theologians, Orlando opens the curtains to reveal the unvarnished picture of a first-century religious conflict hidden beneath centuries of theology and church politics. Writing with unique cinematic flair, Orlando engagingly reveals how from a volatile ethnic conflict between the apostles--a conflict largely created by Paul--a new world religion arose that would eclipse all others. Brilliant!"
--The Rev. Jeffrey J. Butz, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA
"A Polite Bribe seamlessly blends cutting‐edge Pauline scholarship with narrative storytelling. It's a human story that speaks to the broadest possible audience precisely because it doesn't preach to any choir or address a specific faith tradition, but rather wrestles with the paradoxical story of Paul the man and his famously ambivalent relationship with the Judean apostles, which was largely obscured by later generations. This portrayal will undoubtedly provoke and inspire dialogue both within Christian churches and across social and religious boundaries."
--Mark Mattison, creator of The Paul Page
"As someone who knows little about biblical history but a lot about good writing, I found A Polite Bribe offered me double pleasure. First, I was excited to learn a great deal about St. Paul and his mission, and second, I was thrilled to find my history lesson presented in such energetic and entertaining prose. I'd recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the true history of Christianity, but also to anyone who enjoys a good, well‐crafted read."
--Elaine Merrill, editor (formerly Senior Production Editor with Harper)