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Products>A Jewish Paul: The Messiah’s Herald to the Gentiles

A Jewish Paul: The Messiah’s Herald to the Gentiles

ISBN: 9781540965714

Digital Logos Edition

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What was the apostle Paul’s relationship to Judaism? How did he view the Jewish law? How did he understand the gospel of Jesus’s messiahship relative to both ethnic Jews and gentiles? These remain perennial questions to New Testament scholars and to all serious Bible readers.

Respected New Testament scholar Matthew Thiessen offers an important contribution to this discussion. A Jewish Paul is an accessible introduction that situates Paul clearly within first-century Judaism, not opposed to it. Thiessen argues for a more historically plausible reading of Paul, using Acts as a starting point. Paul did not reject Judaism or the Jewish law but believed he was living in the last days, when Israel’s Messiah would deliver the nations from sin and death. Paul saw himself as an envoy to the nations, desiring to introduce them to the Messiah and his life-giving, life-transforming Spirit. Lay readers, pastors, and students will all benefit from this new contribution to Pauline studies.

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  • Provides an accessible introduction that situates Paul clearly within first-century Judaism
  • Argues for a more historically plausible reading of Paul, using Acts as a starting point
  • Introduction
  • 1. Making Paul Weird Again
  • 2. Radically New or Long-Lost Reading of Paul?
  • 3. Judaism Doesn't Believe Anything
  • 4. Paul, An End-Time Jew
  • 5. The Gentile Problem
  • 6. Jesus the Messiah
  • 7. The Gentile Problem and Cosmetic Surgery
  • 8. Pneumatic Gene Therapy
  • 9. The Bodies of the Messiah
  • 10. Living the Resurrected Life
  • 11. Resurrection as the Culmination of the Messiah's Coming
  • 12. The Messiah and the Jews
  • Conclusion
Scrupulous in its fairness to Judaism and immensely helpful in correcting noxious Christian misrepresentations of it, this readable and engaging little book succeeds remarkably in locating Paul, the Christian apostle to the gentiles, within the Judaism in which he was formed and which he never thought he had altogether left. Both Christians and Jews have much to gain from reading A Jewish Paul. Highly recommended!

—Jon D. Levenson, Albert A. List Professor of Jewish Studies, Harvard University

Ever since E. P. Sanders's pioneering work, the role of Judaism has been an important dimension of work on Paul's letters. In this very readable volume, Thiessen provides the reader with a portrait of Paul that takes his Jewishness with the seriousness it deserves. The debate on many issues he engages will not be brought to closure, but he charts directions that all scholars will need to consider going forward.

—Gary A. Anderson, Hesburgh Professor of Catholic Thought, University of Notre Dame

God bless Matthew Thiessen! It is so difficult to give a historically compelling account of the apostle Paul that is, at the same time, helpful to readers of Christian Scripture and, on top of all that, readable and accessible. I know because I have tried. Now, though, I will be very happy simply to refer people to this wonderful book.

—Matthew V. Novenson, University of Edinburgh

Matthew Thiessen (PhD, Duke Divinity School) is associate professor of religious studies at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. He is the author of Contesting Conversion (awarded the Manfred Lautenschlaeger Award for Theological Promise) and Paul and the Gentile Problem. He has also coedited several volumes.


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