Who Made Early Christianity?: The Jewish Lives of the Apostle Paul

Hardcover | June 16, 2015

byJohn G. Gager

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In this historical and theological study, John G. Gager undermines the myth of the Apostle Paul's rejection of Judaism, conversion to Christianity, and founding of Christian anti-Judaism. He finds that the rise of Christianity occurred well after Paul's death and attributes the distortion of the Apostle's views to early and later Christians.

Though Christian clerical elites ascribed a rejection-replacement theology to Paul's legend, Gager shows that the Apostle was considered a loyal Jew by many of his Jesus-believing contemporaries and that later Jewish and Muslim thinkers held the same view. He holds that one of the earliest misinterpretations of Paul was to name him the founder of Christianity, and in recent times numerous Jewish and Christian readers of Paul have moved beyond this understanding.

Gager also finds that Judaism did not fade away after Paul's death but continued to appeal to both Christians and pagans for centuries. Jewish synagogues remained important religious and social institutions throughout the Mediterranean world. Making use of all possible literary and archaeological sources, including Muslim texts, Gager helps recover the long pre-history of a Jewish Paul, obscured by recent, negative portrayals of the Apostle, and recognizes the enduring bond between Jews and Christians that has influenced all aspects of Christianity.

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From the Publisher

In this historical and theological study, John G. Gager undermines the myth of the Apostle Paul's rejection of Judaism, conversion to Christianity, and founding of Christian anti-Judaism. He finds that the rise of Christianity occurred well after Paul's death and attributes the distortion of the Apostle's views to early and later Chri...

John G. Gager is the William H. Danforth Professor of Religion (Emeritus) at Princeton University. His books include Moses in Greco-Roman Paganism; Kingdom and Community: The Social World of Early Christianity; The Origins of Anti-Semitism: Attitudes Toward Judaism in Pagan and Christian Antiquity; Curse Tablets and Binding Spells fro...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:208 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.98 inPublished:June 16, 2015Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231174047

ISBN - 13:9780231174046

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsIntroduction1. Was the Apostle to the Gentiles the Father of Christian Anti-Judaism?2. The Apostle Paul in Jewish Eyes: Heretic or Hero?3. Let's Meet Downtown in the Synagogue: Four Case Studies4. Two Stories of How Early Christianity Came to Be5. Turning the World Upside Down: An Ancient Jewish Life of Jesus6. EpilogueNotesIndex

Editorial Reviews

This well-written and well-researched book will be an excellent resource for readers with an interest in Paul and ancient Judaism.