Ronald Hock focuses on the apostle Paul and his work within the social and intellectual context of the Greek East of the early Roman Empire. He discusses the New Testament evidence concerning tentmaking in relation to Paul's life as an apostle of Christ. Relevant literary and nonliterary texts from outside the New Testament add detail to a picture of ancient society and open new areas for study. The author describes the typical experiences that arose from such a way of life–traveling, the tentmaking trade, the missionary use of the workshop, attitudes toward work, and Paul's own reflections on the significance of his tentmaking for the apostolic self-understanding.
This book is adequately researched and documented for its scope…. If the argument presented here is essentially correct, it provides socioeconomic anchorholds for many of the puzzling attitudes expressed by Paul about himself, his work, and his relationship to the communities of his mission.
—The Catholic Biblical Quarterly
Paul's choice of tentmaking was, Hock argues, not simply a response to the rabbinic ideal of study of Torah combined with labor; it was a conscious act to guard against any possible implication that he was an apostle for gain…. This book adds a needed dimension to our understanding of Paul.
—The Christian Century
Scholars and lay readers alike will find valuable information and insights in this ground-breaking investigation of Paul's tentmaking.
—Journal of Biblical Literature
Ronald F. Hock is Professor of Religion at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. He is also author of The Infancy Gospels of James and Thomas in the Scholars Bible series and co-editor (with Edward N. O'Neil) of the three-volume The Chreia and Ancient Rhetoric.