Later Paul more explicitly denounced the practice, rejecting and condemning those who promoted circumcision to Gentile converts. Paul warned that the advocates of circumcision were "false brothers". His attitude towards circumcision varies between his outright hostility to what he calls "mutilation" in Philippians —3 to praise in Romans —2 and his willingness that Timothy be circumcised, recorded in Acts —3 However, such apparent discrepancies have led to a degree of skepticism about the reliability of Acts.
An objection is drawn from the discrepancy between Acts —28 and Gal. The division between those who followed Mosaic law and were circumcised and those who were not circumcised was highlighted in his Epistle to the Galatians:. On the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel for the uncircumcised , just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel for the circumcised for he who worked through Peter making him an apostle to the circumcised also worked through me in sending me to the Gentiles , and when James and Cephas and John, who were acknowledged pillars, recognized the grace that had been given to me, they gave to Barnabas and me the right hand of fellowship , agreeing that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.
Paul was critical of "Judaizers" within the Church. This conflict between Paul and his opponents may have been the reason for the Council of Jerusalem. See also Noahidism and Dual-covenant theology. Paul seems to have refused "to be tied down to particular patterns of behavior and practice. He rather attempts to persuade them by appealing to the care they should have for other believers who might not feel so free.
Paul himself described several meetings with the apostles in Jerusalem , though it is difficult to reconcile any of them fully with the account in Acts see also Paul the Apostle Council of Jerusalem. Paul claims he "went up again to Jerusalem" i. He describes this as a "private meeting" not a public council and notes that Titus, who was Greek, wasn't pressured to be circumcised. Paul claims the "pillars" of the Church  had no differences with him.
On the contrary, they gave him the "right hand of fellowship", he bound for the mission to "the uncircumcised" and they to "the circumcised", requesting only that he remember the "poor" . Whether this was the same meeting as that described in Acts is not universally agreed. According to an article in the Jewish Encyclopedia , great as was the success of Barnabas and Paul in the heathen world, the authorities in Jerusalem insisted upon circumcision as the condition of admission of members into the church, until, on the initiative of Peter, and of James, the head of the Jerusalem church, it was agreed that acceptance of the Noachian Laws — namely, regarding avoidance of idolatry, fornication, and the eating of flesh cut from a living animal — should be demanded of the heathen desirous of entering the Church.
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Since F. Baur , scholars have found evidence of various strands of thought within Early Christianity.
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James D. Dunn proposes that Peter was a "bridge-man" between the opposing views of Paul and James the Just. For Peter was probably in fact and effect the bridge-man pontifex maximus! James the brother of Jesus and Paul, the two other most prominent leading figures in first-century Christianity, were too much identified with their respective "brands" of Christianity, at least in the eyes of Christians at the opposite ends of this particular spectrum. But Peter, as shown particularly by the Antioch episode in Gal 2, had both a care to hold firm to his Jewish heritage , which Paul lacked , and an openness to the demands of developing Christianity, which James lacked.
John might have served as such a figure of the center holding together the extremes, but if the writings linked with his name are at all indicative of his own stance he was too much of an individualist to provide such a rallying point. Others could link the developing new religion more firmly to its founding events and to Jesus himself. But none of them, including the rest of the twelve, seem to have played any role of continuing significance for the whole sweep of Christianity—though James the brother of John might have proved an exception had he been spared. Despite the agreement presumably achieved at the Council of Jerusalem as understood by Paul, Paul recounts how he later publicly confronted Peter, also called the "Incident at Antioch" over Peter's reluctance to share a meal with Gentile Christians in Antioch.
Writing later of the incident, Paul recounts: "I opposed [Peter] to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong". How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs? The final outcome of the incident remains uncertain. The Catholic Encyclopedia states: "St. Paul's account of the incident leaves no doubt that St. Peter saw the justice of the rebuke. Michael White 's From Jesus to Christianity states: "The blowup with Peter was a total failure of political bravado, and Paul soon left Antioch as persona non grata , never again to return. The primary source for the Incident at Antioch is Paul's letter to the Galatians.
For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus in Judea, for you suffered the same things from your own compatriots as they did from the Jews, who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets and drove us out; they displease God and oppose everyone by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. Thus they have been constantly filling up the measure of their sins; but God's wrath has overtaken them at last.
James P. Carroll , historian and former Catholic priest, cautions that this and similar statements in the Gospels of Matthew and John are properly viewed as "evidence not of Jew hatred but of sectarian conflicts among Jews" in the early years of the Christian church. Paul's theology of the gospel contributed to the separation of the messianic sect of Christians from Judaism, a development contrary to Paul's own intent. He wrote that faith in Christ was alone decisive in salvation for Jews and Gentiles alike, making the schism between the followers of Christ and mainstream Jews inevitable and permanent.
Without Paul's campaign against the legalists who opposed him, Christianity may have remained a dissenting sect within Judaism,  for example see Noahidism. He successfully argued that Gentile converts did not need to follow Jewish customs, get circumcised, follow Jewish dietary restrictions, or otherwise observe Mosaic law , see also Antinomianism in the New Testament and Abrogation of Old Covenant laws. Nevertheless, in his Epistle to the Romans he insisted on the positive value of the Law see also Pauline passages opposing antinomianism in its divine form.
Pauline Christianity is a term used to refer to a branch of Early Christianity associated with the beliefs and doctrines espoused by Paul the Apostle through his writings. The term is generally considered a pejorative by some who believe it carries the implication that Christianity as it is known is a corruption of the original teachings of Jesus , as in the doctrine of the Great Apostasy.
Jewish interest in Paul is a recent phenomenon. Before the so-called Jewish reclamation of Jesus as a Jew in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, he had hardly featured in the popular Jewish imagination and little had been written about him by the religious leaders and scholars. Arguably, he is absent from the Talmud and rabbinical literature, although he makes an appearance in some variants of the medieval polemic Toledot Yeshu as a spy for the rabbis.
He has featured as the key to building barriers e. Heinrich Graetz and Martin Buber or bridges e. Isaac Mayer Wise and Claude G. Montefiore in interfaith relations,  as part of an intra-Jewish debate about what constitutes Jewish authenticity e.
Joseph Klausner and Hans Joachim Schoeps ,  and, on occasion, as a dialogical partner e. Richard L. Rubenstein and Daniel Boyarin. Scholarly surveys of Jewish interest in Paul include those by Hagner ,  Meissner ,  and Langton , This is based on Acts , detailing events after Paul's acceptance of Jesus as Messiah. Messianics cite the cutting off of Paul's hair at Cenchrea because of a vow he had taken Acts , references in passing to his observing the Jewish holidays Acts ; Acts ; Acts and his consistent good standing with his Rabbinic master Gamaliel [ citation needed ] , to show that he was wholly in continued observance of the laws and traditions of Judaism.
Saint Paul according to Acts —29 and Acts —18 is recorded as observing Jewish laws of purification in the Temple in Jersusalem. At each step the traditional perspective is shown to be anachronistic and untenable. The next three chapters consider postbiblical Judaism with a particular focus on the key questions in the debate on Paul. In this context she helpfully diagnoses part of the reason for the misunderstanding.
Israel Folau, the Apostle Paul, and the Gospel - CultureWatch
She articulates the problem so well that hopefully this reviewer may be forgiven for quoting her so extensively:. Ancient Judaism is not what one would call a religion of salvation. This is perhaps the most fundamental misconception that informs the Christian view of ancient Judaism. With very few exceptions, Judaism does not focus its attention on personal salvation. Furthermore, Judaism does not articulate the issue of salvation as a question about whether one is saved by works or by faith.
Christians assume that personal salvation is the fundamental question of religion — all religion. Yet, contrary to long-standing stereotypes, ancient Jews did not have a peculiarly excessive interest in law; they did not preoccupy themselves with picayune legal details while neglecting more serious ethical matters.
Of most significance, it denies the important role of grace and repentance in Judaism With this background in mind, Eisenbaum moves into the remaining half of her book in which she considers Paul in precisely this Jewish context. In the remaining chapters Eisenbaum turns to the issues of law and justification in Paul. The last three chapters in particular take up this topic. Though the issues are well articulated, this reviewer at least would have liked to see many more details worked out; an extra hundred or so pages might have enabled Eisenbaum to flesh out this perspective in a little more detail, but at least she provides enough interpretative markers to enable readers to sort through particular texts which are not directly addressed.
The starting assumption of the new paradigm is that it is not about personal salvation.
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Rather, it is his answer to the question, How will the world be redeemed, and how do I faithfully participate in that redemption? For Paul the question had great urgency, since God had already initiated the process of redemption The rabbis did not think non-Jews needed to observe all the commandments of the Torah to be redeemed — in fact, they are decidedly not to observe many of them.
Yet the rabbis did not think this counted as two separate ways to salvation. Both groups are supposed to be in concord with the will of God, both are called to obedience, and in their different roles, both are being faithful to the Torah. Whether this reluctance simply illustrates the degree to which the older paradigm remains entrenched perhaps remains to be seen. To that end, this book deserves widespread consideration. Many thanks for the great review Mark and for mentioning our Leuven project!
The big issue for the radical new perspective is the relevance of Christ for Jews. Nowhere in Paul do I find that Christ is only for the Gentiles. The discontinuity in Paul vis-a-vis common Judaism is his intense Christ devotion and his placing of Christ above the Torah in terms of universal salvation a salvation that includes the redemption of Jews and even all Israel in its final mysterious outworking.
This, I believe, when taken in an absolute sense, is a misreading of Paul. Torah does indeed play an ongoing role for Paul, both for messianic Jews like him who I think did continue to keep it in a Christocentric way and for the Gentiles in terms of their ongoing sanctification. In this Eisenbaum and Nanos etc. Davies are doing Pauline studies a great favour. Paul is interested in bringing the Jewish Messiah to the Gentiles and of course to Jews he meets along the way , and not the Torah per se.
Mark — a well written and comprehensive review. Great review. Finally, reflecting on David J. We will all be judged according to what? Our deeds. Neither is there any mention in this chapter of the […]. Is it a translational thing or a purely interpretation? To Mr. Mattison — Thanks for having posted your brief, thorough summary of Ms. In your closing remark you mentioned an issue regarding whether or not St Paul was addressing a Gentile-only audience. I just an amateur would have guessed that since he is apostle to the Gentiles, the certain local-level churches for which he was the mother hen would be intended for attendance by Gentiles.
In practical terms what is the point of the discussion?
Paul the Apostle and Jewish Christianity
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