This study begins with a brief overview of the religious and historical context from which the Jesus movement arose. The primary sources for the emergence of the gentile mission are evaluated, followed by a description of the spread of the movement prior to Paul's ministry. The historiography on Paul from the early nineteenth century to the present is then considered in chronological order, with emphasis on the beginning of Paul's mission and his relationship with Jesus' brother James and the other elders of the Jerusalem congregation. The views of the various scholars surveyed are summarized and assessed. Although the nature of the sources is such that certainty is seldom if ever an option when the early history of Christianity is under consideration, some conclusions are presented. They are: 1) that the growth of the Jesus movement gained momentum from cultural tensions that had arisen from the diaspora and the growth of the Roman empire; 2) that the members of the new sect quickly developed a "high" Christology influenced by preexisting eschatological motifs; 3) that the relationship between Paul and the elders of the Jerusalem congregation was not as antagonistic as some scholars have supposed; 4) that Paul's attitude toward the religion of his fathers is best characterized as sectarian triumphalism and not as anti-Judaism; and 5) that the later use of Paul's polemics to condemn Judaism in particular and nonacceptance of the gospel in general arose from the failure of the apostle's presumed special knowledge, particularly his beliefs that the Jews were soon to be converted and that the end was at hand.
The full text, minus the footnotes, is available online at http://people.delphiforums.com/tglit/graham/Paul.html
Mr. Lester is no longer in academics, but he has a blog called Uncategorical which combines limericks with political commentary. Really.