Were Paul and his Cynics regarded as unwashed fringe-dwellers who irritated their neighbors with clever arguments? Yes, says F. Gerald Downing. "Cynics, Paul and the Pauline Church" explores the teachings of Paul, arguing that the development of Paul's preaching and of the Pauline Church owed a great deal to the views of the vagabond Cynic philosophers, critics of the Gods and of the ethos of civic society. Downing examines the New Testament writings of Paul, explaining how he would have been perceived and understood by his culturally and ethnically diverse converts and disciples. Offering a lucid Pauline commentary and startling, ground-breaking views of Paul and his Word, this is a unique and controversial book, particularly in its endorsement of the simple and ascetic life proffered in Paul's teachings in comparison with the greedy, consumerist and self-promoting nature of today's society.