A Radical Jew: Paul and the Politics of Identity by Daniel Boyarin

By Daniel Boyarin

Daniel Boyarin turns to the Epistles of Paul because the religious autobiography of a first-century Jewish cultural critic. What led Paul--in his dramatic conversion to Christianity--to this type of radical critique of Jewish culture?Paul's well-known formula, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, no female and male in Christ," demonstrates the genius of Christianity: its main issue for everybody. The genius of Judaism is its validation of family tree and cultural, ethnic distinction. however the evils of those notion platforms are the obverse in their geniuses: Christianity has threatened to coerce universality, whereas ethnic distinction is likely one of the so much stricken concerns in glossy history.Boyarin posits a "diaspora id" with a purpose to negotiate the pitfalls inherent in both place. Jewishness disrupts different types of id since it isn't really nationwide, genealogical, or maybe non secular, yet all of those, in dialectical stress with each other. it truly is analogous with gender: gender id makes us assorted in many ways yet now not in others.An exploration of those tensions within the Pauline corpus, argues Boyarin, will lead us to a richer appreciation of our personal cultural quandaries as female and male, homosexual and instantly, Jew and Palestinian--and as humans.

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Additional info for A Radical Jew: Paul and the Politics of Identity (Contraversions: Critical Studies in Jewish Literature, Culture, and Society)

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It is this difference between us that ultimately determines, I think, the different emphases of our readings of Paul. ” Westerholm's interpretation is neither pernicious nor false but, I think, not sufficiently grounded in Paul's particular historical situation and that of first-century Judaism. What would have happened, on Westerholm's account, had the Jews been able to keep the Law? The question is, however, one of interpretative emphasis, not absolute disagreement. [20] Indeed, one might suggest that Watson would represent for Westerholm the classic candidate for a career in metallurgy.

In their view the—relative—truth of even the Jewish faith could be expressed only in a universal way without national and historically conditioned limitations. (Hengel 1974, 261) As Hengel shows, the notion that the different gods are manifestations of the one deity has deep roots in Hellenistic culture. Thus, while biblical universalism was founded on a notion of the mission of Israel to save all of humanity and bring them to the true worship of the only God, Hellenistic notions of universalism involved the assumption that all the gods were really different names for one God.

Lest I be misunderstood, once more, the point is not to judge Paul but to see in what way his cultural theory can be useful for us. 11. Although Sanders later substantially revises this impression, at this point in the book one could easily conclude that the issue of inclusion of the gentiles has still not been recognized by him as central to Pauline religion. 12. This point has already been made by Charles H. Cosgrove (1988, 12). However, in spite of the impressive vigor and clarity of Cosgrove's argumentation (23–38), I am equally unconvinced that his decision to hang the entire letter on the beginning of chapter 3 is necessary.

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