New Book on Paul and Judaism

New Book on Paul and Judaism May 15, 2012

Paul and Judaism: Crosscurrents in Pauline Exegesis and the Study of Jewish Christian Relations
Edited by Reimund Bieringer & DidierPollefeyt
LNTS 461; London: T&T Clark, 2012.

This is a funky volume of essays on Paul with contributions from Mark Nanos, Michael Bachmann, William Campbell, Thomas Blanton, Michael Bird, plus others, with an epilogue by James Dunn. It tackles both Paul’s relationship to Judaism and how that is appropriated in Jewish-Christian relations today. It is based on conference held in Leuven, Belgium back in 2009, and I had many interesting conversations with several Catholic theologians about Paul and mission today.

Particular highlights are those pieces by Bill Campbell, Mark Nanos, and Hans-Herman Henrix. I liked Jimmy Dunn’s conclusion, esp. this quote: “Michael Bird is right: we must beware of turning intra-Jewish debates into anti-Jewish encounters.” Glad to know that I’m right at least about one thing!

My own essay, “Salvation in Paul’s Judaism,” ends with the words:

“Finally, it was formerly and famously said by E.P. Sanders: ‘In short, this is what Paul finds wrong in Judaism: it is not Christianity’.[1] Similarly, Lloyd Gaston said: ‘This is what Paul finds wrong with other Jews: that they do not share his revelation in Damascus’.[2] More recently, Mark Nanos has wryly written: ‘this is what Paul would find wrong in Paulinism: it is not Judaism’.[3] But I say unto you: This is what Paul finds wrong with Judaism, what the Torah could not do due its exacerbation of the sin-flesh nexus and its limited role in salvation-history, God did by sending his son in the likeness of a human being and by bestowing his Spirit as a foretaste of the new creation by making Jews and Gentile co-heirs of Abraham through Christ. Consequently, for Paul, salvation is of Judaism only in so far as Judaism is of Jesus Christ.”

[1] Sanders, Paul and Palestinian Judaism, 552.

[2] Gaston, Paul and Torah, 140

[3] Nanos, ‘Paul and Judaism’, 159.



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  • Chris White

    Nicely put!!