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 kind 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 drawback for everyone. The genius of Judaism is its validation of family tree and cultural, ethnic distinction. however the evils of those suggestion platforms are the obverse in their geniuses: Christianity has threatened to coerce universality, whereas ethnic distinction is without doubt one of the so much afflicted concerns in sleek history.Boyarin posits a "diaspora identification" on the way to negotiate the pitfalls inherent in both place. Jewishness disrupts different types of identification since it isn't nationwide, genealogical, or maybe non secular, yet all of those, in dialectical rigidity with each other. it really is analogous with gender: gender id makes us assorted in many ways yet no longer 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 immediately, Jew and Palestinian--and as humans.

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

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To my mind, these positions are so fundamentally incompatible that it is impossible to accept 2:15 as Paul's statement of his own position, though it reads perfectly as granting Peter a point in order to catch him in a sort of reductio argument. 15. Toward the very end of his book, Sanders allows this as a possible alternative to the thesis he has been defending throughout: We can never exclude with certainty the possibility that Paul was secretly dissatisfied with the law before his conversion/call.

Westerholm provides, however, an important countercorollary, “The basis for Paul's rejection of the law must not be determined solely by asking what his foes were proposing any more than we may see Judaism's own perspective of the law in Paul's rejected version of it” (1988, 150). This is well put and means that the initial reasons for Paul's rejection of the Law and his later reflections and amplifications are both equally important. Westerholm argues that Luther understood Paul well but that Paul was representing not Judaism but Christian theology: There is more of Paul in Luther than many twentieth-century scholars are inclined to allow.

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. Paul's argumentation from the ecstatic gifts the Galatians have shared with him is a very significant point in the letter, and I have tried to treat it as such, but I also think it is secondary to the motivating force of Paul's gospel.

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