Second Corinthians in the Perspective of Late Second Temple Judaism


In the framework of a larger research project into ‘New Perspectives on Paul and the Jews’, eight scholars from Europe, Israel, and North America join forces in querying Paul’s relationship to Jews and Judaism. The sample text selected for this inquiry is the Second Letter to the Corinthians, a document particularly suited for this purpose as it reflects violent clashes between Paul and rivalling Jews and Jewish Christians. While the first three articles address more general literary and historical questions, the following five present in-depth case studies of much-studied passages from the letter and the underlying issues. An introductory essay queries how in the case at hand we can gain an adequate understanding of Paul’s theology while fully respecting his particular place in Judaism.
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Biographical Note

Reimund Bieringer is Professor of New Testament Exegesis at KU Leuven (Catholic University of Leuven). Among his publications are: Studies in 2 Corinthians (1994, with J. Lambrecht); Anti-Judaism and the Fourth Gospel (2001, edited together with D. Pollefeyt and F. Vandecasteele-Vanneuville); Paul and Judaism: Cross-Currents in Pauline Exegesis and the Study of Jewish-Christian Relations (2012, with D. Pollefeyt).

Emmanuel Nathan is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow of the Research Foundation-Flanders at KU Leuven and has been appointed Lecturer in Biblical Studies at the Australian Catholic University in Sydney. His publications include: 2 Corinthians: A Bibliography (2008, with R. Bieringer and D. Kurek-Chomycz) and New Perspectives on Paul and the New Covenant in 2 Corinthians 3 (2014).

Didier Pollefeyt is Vice-Rector of KU Leuven and Professor of Jewish-Christian Relations and Post-Holocaust Theology in this university. Among his publications are: Anti-Judaism and the Fourth Gospel (2001, edited together with R. Bieringer and F. Vandecasteele-Vanneuville); La pensée juive contemporaine (2008, with D. Delmaire); Holocaust and Nature: On the Relation between Holocaust Studies and Ecological Issues (2013).

Peter J. Tomson retired as Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies at the Faculty of Protestant Theology in Brussels and is presently Guest Professor of Jewish Studies at KU Leuven. His publications include: Paul and the Jewish Law: Halakha in the Letters of the Apostle to the Gentiles (1990) and The New Testament and Rabbinic Literature (2010, with R. Bieringer, F. García Martínez, and D. Pollefeyt).

Table of contents

Peter J. Tomson, Introductory Essay

Reimund Bieringer, Love as That Which Binds Everything Together? The Unity of 2 Corinthians Revisited in Light of αγαπ-Terminology

Martin Goodman, The Politics of the Fifties: Jewish leadership and the Jews of Corinth in the Time of 2 Corinthians

Joshua Schwartz, Methodological Remarks on ‘Jewish’ Identity: Jews, Jewish Christians and Prolegomena on Pauline Judaism

Friedrich Avemarie, The Notion of a ‘New Covenant’ in 2 Cor 3: Its Function in Paul’s Argument and Its Jewish Background

Peter J. Tomson, Christ, Belial, and Women: 2 Cor 6:14-7:1 Compared with Ancient Judaism and with the Pauline Corpus

Ze’ev Safrai and Peter J. Tomson, Paul’s ‘Collection for the Saints’ (2 Cor 8-9) and Financial Support of Leaders in Early Christianity and Judaism

Catherine Hezser, Paul’s ‘Fool’s Speech’ (2 Cor 11:16-32) in the Context of Ancient Jewish and Graeco-Roman Culture

Christopher R.A. Morray-Jones, The Ascent into Paradise (2 Cor 12:1-12): Paul’s Merkava Vision and Apostolic Call


The book addresses scholars of the New Testament and Christian origins, Ancient Judaism, and Early Church History.