Abstract

While many liberal Jews have endorsed Jesus as one of their own for at least a century, Paul has often borne the blame for injecting anti-Judaism into early Christianity. The work of these scholars helps overturn these judgments against Paul. Several emphases of their work help us to better appreciate Paul as a pedagogue of multiple identities. 1) Being "in Christ" and being part of Israel are compatible, not contradictory identities for Paul. 2) Paul believes that Gentiles, by being "in Christ" come under the umbrella of Israel, even without circumcision or conversion. 3) Paul's mission as the teacher to the Gentiles shapes every aspect of his rhetoric and message. 4) Paul is animated by the question of Gentile inclusion in God's people, not the existential guilt of the individual. This article also poses four questions as we pursue this approach to Paul. 1) Why does Paul, the robust Jew who continues to believe in Israel's election, so virulently oppose Gentile circumcision or conversion, which was part of the Judaism of his time? 2) What is the role of the cross, which does not spring from the language and myths of Israel, in Paul's thought? 3) Does Paul think he is doing anything new, particularly since he uses the language of novelty? 4) How much does Paul need to be "saved," i.e. made to conform to our contemporary standards, for us to appreciate him as part of our experience and traditions?

In: Biblical Interpretation
Doctrine, Community, and Self-Definition
How did the belief in resurrection become part of the symbolic construction of early Jewish and Christian communities? Why was it a marker for who did or did not belong in certain groups? Using insights from the social sciences and rhetorical studies, the author discusses the development of belief in resurrection in early Jewish circles and the growth of a resurrection apologetic in early Christianity. Examining materials on the Pharisees, Jewish liturgy, and the earliest rabbinic statements, as well as the theology of resurrection in Paul, Justin, Athenagoras, Irenaeus, and Tertullian, this study demonstrates the stability of certain tenets that coalesce around the concept of resurrection, and its utility as a shorthand for a community's theology and self-understanding.
In: The Gospels in First-Century Judaea