Was Paul the founder of the church after he "converted" to Christianity? Did he believe Jesus superseded the Torah? Asserting that Paul remained a devout Jew, Eisenbaum claims he wasn't the architect of a new religion but an advocate for the next stage in Jewish evolution---the unification of Jews and Gentiles to fulfill God's universal plan. 336 pages, softcover from HarperOne.
Pamela Eisenbaum, an expert on early Christianity, reveals the true nature of the historical Paul in Paul Was Not a Christian. She explores the idea of Paul not as the founder of a new Christian religion, but as a devout Jew who believed Jesus was the Christ who would unite Jews and Gentiles and fulfill God’s universal plan for humanity. Eisenbaum’s work in Paul Was Not a Christian will have a profound impact on the way many Christians approach evangelism and how to better follow Jesus’s—and Paul’s—teachings on how to live faithfully today.
Pamela Eisenbaum is the associate professor of biblical studies and Christian origins at Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado. Eisenbaum is a national media expert on early Christianity and, as a practicing Jew teaching in a Christian seminary, has a unique perspective on the origins of Christianity.
Eisenbaum shows the implausibility of the common interpretation of Paul that pits a Christian essence against a superficial or rejected Jewish hull. The book’s great accomplishment is to show us a historically plausible picture of a fully Jewish Paul who was also fully committed to Christ.
Eisenbaum’s is one of a few important voices drawing our attention . . . to the continuing tensions and contradictions in Christian readings of Paul . . . This book does more than challenge and inform: it changes the way we think about Paul [and] the origins of Christian faith.
Pamela Eisenbaum’s Paul Was Not a Christian is a clear and effective presentation and extension of the view. . . that Paul remained fully identified with Judaism and the Torah throughout his life. . . It will repay careful reading by interested layfolk and by scholars as well.
“Paul was not a Christian is well worth careful reading. It is a serious and very clear exposition of what changed and what stayed the same in Paul’s religious life. This book is very highly recommended to both scholars and laypersons as all will gain from it.”
“In this provocative book, biblical scholar Eisenbaum points out that the traditional Christian portrait of Paul as a former Jew . . . is a misreading of Paul’s life and religious work . . . Eisenbaum’s lively prose and meticulous scholarship provides a compelling new portrait of the apostle. ”
“Professor Eisenbaum offers the general reader the most realistic first-century portrayal of the Apostle Paul ever written.”
“According to traditional teachings, Paul rejected his Judaism for the new, improved version: Christianity. Bible scholar Pamela Eisenbaum says this interpretation of Paul is not only wrong, it’s dangerous.”