Pamela Eisenbaum, an expert on early Christianity, reveals the true nature of the historical Paul in Paul Was Not a Christian. She explores the idea of Paul not as the founder of a new Christian religion, but as a devout Jew who believed Jesus was the Christ who would unite Jews and Gentiles and fulfill God’s universal plan for humanity. Eisenbaum’s work in Paul Was Not a Christian will have a profound impact on the way many Christians approach evangelism and how to better follow Jesus’s—and Paul’s—teachings on how to live faithfully today.
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About the Author
Pamela Eisenbaum is the associate professor of biblical studies and Christian origins at Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado. Eisenbaum is a national media expert on early Christianity and, as a practicing Jew teaching in a Christian seminary, has a unique perspective on the origins of Christianity.
Table of Contents
Note to the Reader xiii
1 Was Paul Really Jewish? 5
2 Paul the Problem 10
3 How Paul Became a Christian 32
4 Reading Paul as a Jew-Almost 55
5 Paul's Jewish Inheritance 67
6 Who Is and Who Isn't a Jew? 99
7 The Flexible Pharisees 116
8 Paul the (Ex?)-Pharisee 132
9 A Typical Jew 150
10 A Radical Jewish Monotheist 172
11 On a Mission from God 196
12 "On the Contrary, We Uphold the Law!" 208
13 Justification Through Jesus Christ 240
14 It's the End of the World as We Know It 250
What People are Saying About This
Eisenbaum shows the implausibility of the common interpretation of Paul that pits a Christian essence against a superficial or rejected Jewish hull. The book’s great accomplishment is to show us a historically plausible picture of a fully Jewish Paul who was also fully committed to Christ.
Pamela Eisenbaum’s Paul Was Not a Christian is a clear and effective presentation and extension of the view. . . that Paul remained fully identified with Judaism and the Torah throughout his life. . . It will repay careful reading by interested layfolk and by scholars as well.
Eisenbaum’s is one of a few important voices drawing our attention . . . to the continuing tensions and contradictions in Christian readings of Paul . . . This book does more than challenge and inform: it changes the way we think about Paul [and] the origins of Christian faith.
“Paul was not a Christian is well worth careful reading. It is a serious and very clear exposition of what changed and what stayed the same in Paul’s religious life. This book is very highly recommended to both scholars and laypersons as all will gain from it.”