This landmark work, which has shaped a generation of scholarship, compares the apostle Paul with contemporary Judaism, both understood on their own terms. E.P. Sanders proposes a methodology for comparing similar but distinct religious patterns, demolishes a flawed view of rabbinic Judaism still prevalent in much New Testament scholarship, and argues for a distinct understanding of the apostle and of the consequences of his conversion. A new foreword by Mark A. Chancey outlines Sanders’s achievement, reviews the principal criticisms raised against it, and describes the legacy he leaves future interpreters.
Paul and Palestinian Judaism revolutionized New Testament Studies. This great book began the serious academic retrieval of Second Temple Judaism as the defining context, in positive ways, of Paul’s life and work. Brilliantly analyzing a broad range of early Jewish texts, Sanders likewise exposed the deep and abiding anti-Judaism afflicting – and disfiguring – centuries of Christian scholarship. Both intellectually and morally, his writing sounded a summons that has reshaped an entire field of study. If, in the forty years since its first publication, things have begun to change, it is thanks to Sanders, and to the enduring achievement of Paul and Palestinian Judaism.
—Paula Fredriksen, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem
E.P. Sanders’s Paul and Palestinian Judaism is a modern classic. It changed the way we look at Paul and the way we look at ancient Judaism. Forty years later, it is still worth reading and worth arguing about.
—Shaye J.D. Cohen, Harvard University
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