Paul and Palestinian Judaism compares Judaism—understood on its own terms, with Paul—understood on his own terms. Sanders aims to:
This landmark volume makes a contribution not only to the understanding of Paul and his relationship to Judaism, but also to the study of Judaism itself.
In the past three decades reasons have accumulated for a transformation of our whole picture of Judaism in the first-century Palestine. Sanders has listened to those reasons; he has done his homework; and he undertakes here to shift the question about Paul's relation to that Judaism into a fundamentally different perspective. For New Testament students still trapped in Billerbeck-and-Kittel scholarship, the book will be revolutionary. For everyone who tries to understand early Judaism or the Christian movement that emerged from it, Sanders' work requires a thorough re-thinking of our assumptions.
—Wayne A. Meeks, Yale University
Professor Ed Sanders is dissatisfied with the two prevalent modes of explaining Paul: one, to pit the supposedly essential elements of his preaching against supposedly comparable ones in traditional Judaism; the other, to inspect as many particular motifs as possible with a view to establishing dependence or independence. His method is holistic, i.e., he focuses on the basic functioning of religions, on patterns which, he holds, are revealed chiefly in how you become and continue a member of the community. His profound, novel analysis of a vast material makes this one of the few truly creative, exciting works on the subject.
—David Daube, University of California, Berkeley