In this article, a transhistorical interviewer from the first decade of the 21st century conducts an interview with Adolf Deissmann in the first decade of the 20th century, on Paul of Tarsus of the 1st century. Statistics from Boston University’s World Religion Database and many other sources indicate that a century-long trend (1910-2010) is making charismatic evangelical Christianity the most representative form of rapidly-replicating Christianity in the early 21st century. As a result, Paul, the social change leader of earliest Christianity, has gained a premier global position and has become a paradigmatic voice for that spreading spirituality.
In 1891, Cambridge University historian F. W. Farrar explored the thoughts of Stoic philosophers, giving attention to Seneca and Paul, contemporaries of the first century A.D. In 1982, Boston College philosopher Peter Kreeft constructed an imagined trialogue between John F. Kennedy, Aldous Huxley, and C. S. Lewis. Here, at a century’s distance (1910-2011), Deissmann is chosen for a transhistorical interview about Paul of Tarsus because of Deissmann’s scholastic longevity and continuing intellectual influence, production of literary classics, grasp and expression of the spiritual dimension, and ability to make academic findings accessible to a larger audience.
The transhistorical interview is a qualitative method of inquiry that it is field-focused, employs self as instrument, is interpretive in character, uses expressive language, devotes attention to particulars, and is persuasive. From the mode of a transhistorical qualitative interview, Deissmann is asked to explain the impact of actually traveling the geographical area of Paul’s life and leadership, to assess the emissarian leader historically, to critique Paul’s methodologies, and to give his views on several other lines of thought.