This book was written by Henrietta Buckmaster, published by McGraw-Hill Book Company in 1965.  “My” copy, obtained by interlibrary loan from Wellesley Free library, shows the signs of readers’ love:  Nearly 50 years of food stains, pencil and ink notations, yellowing and mellowing of wood-based paper, frayed cloth cover — all indicative of the treasure inside.

“Paul was the architect of Christianity. Almost every human being in the western world has been influenced by his understanding of the Christ.” Buckmaster’s book is creative nonfiction, with the caveat that everything written about Paul to date had relied heavily on speculation, so that her book, too — based on her deep and wide reading as well as travel to his stomping grounds — emerged from a leap of imagination.

The value of this book to me springs from her research into the world of the 40s and 50s of the common era, setting her spiritual understanding of Paul as closely as can be into the realities of his experience. She brings us there, she brings him here.

The other characters are fleshed out, too. Agrippa, Festus, Barnabas, Silas/Silvanus. What if Buckmaster were writing today, when we know so much more about Phoebe, Priscilla as well as Aquila, Lydia? It’s a mark of her day that every single work in her bibliography was written by a man. And then — there’s Henrietta.

I would like to own a copy of this book, for my own frequent reference.