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An Anomalous Jew: Paul among Jews, Greeks, and Romans

, 2016
ISBN: 9780802867698
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Digital list price: $23.99
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Though Paul is often lauded as the first great Christian theologian and a champion for Gentile inclusion in the church, in his own time he was universally regarded as a strange and controversial person. In this book Pauline scholar Michael Bird explains why.

An Anomalous Jew presents the figure of Paul in all his complexity with his blend of common and controversial Jewish beliefs and a faith in Christ that brought him into conflict with the socio-religious scene around him. Bird elucidates how the apostle Paul was variously perceived—as a religious deviant by Jews, as a divisive figure by Jewish Christians, as a purveyor of dubious philosophy by Greeks, and as a dangerous troublemaker by the Romans. Readers of this book will better understand the truly anomalous shape of Paul’s thinking and worldview.

Resource Experts

Key Features

  • Presents a lively, well-informed portrait of the complex figure who was the apostle Paul
  • Attempts to understand Paul’s Jewishness in relation to other Jews, Jewish Christians, and Romans


  • Introduction: Paul the Jew . . . of Sorts
  • Salvation in Paul’s Judaism
  • Paul: Apostle to the Gentiles and Jews?
  • An Invasive Story: An Apocalyptic and Salvation-Historical Rereading of Galatians
  • The Incident at Antioch (Gal 2:11-14): The Beginnings of Paulinism
  • The Apostle Paul and the Roman Empire

Top Highlights

“Third, the eschatological dualism that Paul introduces in the opening of Galatians stresses a discontinuity between the ages, but not an absolute disconnection from Israel’s story.” (Page 126)

“1. The Old Testament background to the New Testament demonstrates that the coming of Jesus Christ” (Page 21)

“Viewed this way, Christ-believers were persecuted because they neglected what some thought necessary (worship of the gods), their meetings broke down the social orders between the classes (hierarchies of power and privilege), they promoted controversy and clashes among Jewish communities (a threat to peace), and they abhorred precisely what many adored (Roman power and its benefactions).” (Page 212)

“and he parted ways with Peter, Barnabas, and Antioch. (If he had won the debate, I suspect tha” (Page 95)

“Paul’s gospel is both a gracious gift and a demand for new-covenant loyalty” (Page 35)

Praise for the Print Edition

This is vintage Bird, perhaps with a noticeable tinge of N. T. Wright thrown in as well. In this book we find historically informed, strong readings of the Pauline texts, a deep awareness of the scholarly debates and positions on Paul and first-century Judaism, and overall a substantive and important contribution to situating Paul in his first-century context.

—Joshua W. Jipp, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

Even though contextualizing Paul is necessary in order to understand him, Bird argues that Paul nevertheless defies categorization. He was a maverick apostle, an inimitable thinker, and an anomalous Jew. Bird cogently sets Paul within his world, not to domesticate him, but to draw out his peculiarity. This is engaging reading, peppered with fresh insight into the historical Paul.

—Nijay K. Gupta, George Fox Evangelical Seminary

  • Title: An Anomalous Jew: Paul among Jews, Greeks, and Romans
  • Author: Michael F. Bird
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Print Publication Date: 2016
  • Logos Release Date: 2017
  • Pages: 322
  • Language: English
  • Resources: 1
  • Format: Digital › Logos Research Edition
  • Subject: Paul, the Apostle, Saint
  • ISBNs: 9780802867698, 0802867693
  • Resource Type: Monograph
  • Metadata Last Updated: 2022-09-30T01:52:19Z

Michael F. Bird is lecturer in theology at Ridley Melbourne College of Mission and Ministry. He is the author of several books, including Jesus and the Origins of the Gentile Mission, The Saving Righteousness of God, and with James Crossley, How Did Christianity Begin?

Sample Pages from the Print Edition


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    Digital list price: $23.99
    Save $5.00 (20%)