Review of Kimberly Ambrose on Jew among the Jews: Rehabilitating Paul

Over at RBL is my review of Kimberly Ambrose, Jew among Jews: Rehabilitating Paul (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2015).

The final verdict is:

This volume is a helpful entrée into some of the discussions in Pauline studies, and Ambrose does her best to challenge entrenched dogmas on Paul and Judaism. However, I did find this book disappointing in some respects. I was concerned and confused by the absence of Markus Barth and Pamela Eisenbaum from the discussion, since Barth was a seminal figure in urging for a reassessment of Paul and Judaism, and Eisenbaum is one of the most novel scholars working in this field today. In several places, especially in chapter 4, the survey of scholars seems selective and the taxonomy of views somewhat inchoate. In addition, the chapter on Paul and Scripture felt hurried and did not reckon with the full complexities of Paul’s intertextuality. On the whole, I felt that Ambose was trying to do too much in too little a space. Consequently, while Ambrose courageously tries to tackle complex problems on Paul vis-à-vis Judaism, sometimes her discussions seem terse and superficial. That said, she does a good job of popularizing the views of her Doktorvater William S. Campbell, and her book is certainly a good primer for anyone interested in the Paul within Judaism school of thought.


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