PETER AND PAUL
5. PAUL: THE CREATION OF A JUDAISM FOR GENTILES
‘Paul is both too Jewish for some Christians and too anti-Jewish for others. For Nietzsche, Paul is "the eternal Jew par excellence" ... as well as "a genius in hatred, ... [a] morbid crank". For the Nazis, he was "the evil rabbi Paul". For Jews, he is the Jew who became the great enemy of Judaism. Kaufmann Kohler says that his theology was "far more pagan than Jewish in type". Solomon Schachter says, "Either the theology of the Rabbis must be wrong, its conception of God debasing, its leading motives materialistic and coarse, and its teachers lacking in enthusiasm and spirituality, or the Apostle to the Gentiles is quite unintelligible".’ 1
A. FROM JESUS TO PAUL
Jesus was an observant Jew from the Galilee. He prayed in a synagogue (Mk. 1:21, 6:2; Lk. 4:16), visited the Temple (Mk. 11:15; Mk. 14:15), recited the Ten Commandments (Mk. 12:29-31), the Shmai (Jewish doxology) and stated the importance of ‘love your neighbor as yourself’ (Mk. 12:34) as did Rabbi Hillel the Elder and Rabbi Akiva, the two most important Talmudic Sages. At this point in Jewish history the Halakha - the Law - was quite fluid. Jesus preaches about ethical behavior not about ritual behavior. In this way he resembles Jeremiah.
How the did the ‘Jewish proclaimer’ of the Kingdom of God become the ‘proclaimed’ as Christ’? 1 Many claim that this transformation belongs to Paul. According to Paul Jesus became the messiah after his death and resurrection.
Jesus, the Galilean Jew had no interest in Gentiles. ‘Dogs not fit to eat the bread belonging to children (Mk. 7:27). ‘Do not throw your pearls in front of swine (Mt. 7:6). The fact that these embarrassing statements remain in the Christian Bible suggest they were in fact part of Jesus’ ministry.
Paul was a believing Pharisee who saw a vision of Jesus in which he was told to be the apostle to the Gentiles. From the moment Paul declared his mission to the Gentiles and this was accepted by the Jewish Christian Jerusalem Church a radical transformation was inevitable. Only a Gentile mission could declare ‘Christ is the end of the Law’ (Rom. 10:4) and ‘for all who rely on works of the law are under a curse’ (Gal. 3:10).
Maimonides, the great Jewish Halakhic master and Jewish philosopher stated ‘They [Christians] will not find in their Torah [the Christian Bible] anything that conflicts with our Torah.’ 2 He encouraged dialogue with Christians as well as with Muslims. The school of Tosafists (12th and 13th century Talmudic commentators) and specifically Rabbanu Jacob Tam (grandson of Rashi, the renown medieval commentator) ruled that the concept of the Trinity was not idolatrous if practiced by Christians but would be so if practiced by Jews. 3 Rabbanu Tam also stated that Simon (Peter) was a devout Jew who he believed wrote the famous prayer ‘nishmat’ recited on Shabbat and festivals. 4 An 18th century Jewish Talmudist commentator Rabbi Jacob Emden (1697-1776) wrote ‘that Jesus never intended to abolish Judaism, but only to establish a new religion for the Gentiles based on the Noahide commandments’. 5 He further stated that ‘their [Christianity and Islam] are for the sake of Heaven, to make Godliness known amongst the nations, to speak of Him in distant places; they have accepted virtually all of the Noahide Commandments’. 6 A 19th century Orthodox commentator Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch noted that ‘In order that Jesus’ power of hope and greatness of soul should not end with his death, God has raised in the group of his disciples the idea that he rose from death and continues to live’. 7
Modern day Christian commentators K. Stendahl, L. Gaston and J. Gager 8 do not seem to object to the above thesis. They interpret Paul as having preached only to Gentiles and not to Jews. Their view of Paul is that he needed to stress that Gentiles need not Judaize nor Jews become believers in Christ. This is not the view of Paul held by most Christian commentators.
Paul’s letters are the only we have from the first generation after Jesus’ crucifixion. Within five to fifteen years after his death followers of Jesus existed in Samaria and Judea, in the Galilee, on the Mediterranean coast, further north in Syria in Damascus and Antioch and of course in Jerusalem and Rome.
From where did these people emanate; where they the God-fearers, people who had been on the fringes of the synagogue? Was circumcision a deterrent to full conversion, at least for men? More women seemed to join Judaism perhaps because circumcision was not applicable. Probably, but some were preaching a ‘Christ-plus-circumcision’ gospel (Gal. 1:8-9). When Paul writes ‘if I still preach circumcision’ (Gal.5:11) who is he referring to: Jews? Gentiles? To his pre-Christian days? The level of religious observance among God-fearers must have been considerable. Do these and others provide a bridge to the rapid development of early Christianity? Reviewing Paul’s Letters to the Galatians, Thessalonica and Corinth it is apparent that he is preaching in Synagogues. In the discussion in Acts 15, the God-fearers and their proclivity to follow Jewish law does seem a problem for Paul’s ‘Law-free’ gospel. Josephus tells of the Izates the King of Adiabene considering following the women of his Court and his mother in converting to Judaism, but being convinced to stop short of circumcision. 9 His brother Monobazus apparently went all the way ie he was circumcised. 10
Paul rarely quotes Jesus although he does occasionally use the term ‘saying of the Lord’ in an historical sense without specifying a particular saying (1 Thess. 4:13). The historic Jesus preached to Jews for whom the Torah was relevant. Paul was preaching to Gentiles for whom the Torah was not relevant. Paul preached the resurrection and the eschatological significance of the crucifixion – The Easter event – not the life of Jesus. The text of Paul’s letters reveals virtually nothing of the historical Jesus, not his mother’s name nor his home town of Nazareth nor the circumstances of his death (so important to the writers of the Gospels). Jesus was a Jew concerned with fellow Jews. Paul message came from his vision of the Risen Christ. Paul showed little interest in the historical Jesus. When Paul states the preference for not getting married he states it comes not from Jesus (1 Cor. 7:25) but uses his own example unlike the other married Apostles (1 Cor. 9:5). Why does he not use Jesus’ unmarried status? 11 ‘Even if we were once familiar with Christ according to human terms, we do not know him that way any longer’ (2 Cor. 5:16). Paul is disinterested in the historical Jesus; in that way he differs from the other Apostles and the synoptic Gospels.
The historical Jesus was disinterested in the Gentile mission – it virtually did not exist for Jesus. It came from Paul’s vision of the resurrected Jesus not the historical Jesus. In fact ‘Paul never defends his Law-free mission to the Gentiles by an appeal to a teaching of Jesus, nor does he claim that such was even implicit in any of Jesus’ teaching. 12 The proof text is the debates between Paul and the original direct disciples of Jesus, James, his brother and Peter (to be discussed shortly). According to Galatians and Acts Jesus was not the basis of the debate. Jesus did not require anything of non-Jewish followers; he never conceived of their importance. Paul’s requirements for non-Jewish followers was never discussed by the historical Jesus. Paul mission is based on his vision of the Risen Christ, not the historical Jesus..
Saul born in Tarsus, better known by his Greek name Paul had a transforming vision (Acts. 9:3-4, 22:11, 24:16; Gal. 1:16 and 1 Cor. 15:8). In his vision Paul saw a vision of the resurrected and Risen Jesus on the road to Damascus. (This occurred only two – four years post crucifixion, according to Martin Hengel between 32-34 CE. 13) Jesus asked ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’ (Acts.26:14) Paul asks ‘who are you, Lord? I am Jesus whom you are persecuting’. I ‘appoint you as my servant . . I shall rescue you from the people and from the nations to whom I send you to open their eyes, so they may turn from darkness to light’ (Act. 26:16-18). Paul is blinded as a result of the vision. ‘I got to Damascus only because my companions led me by the hand (Acts 22:11).
Paul tells us that he persecuted the Jesus community zealously (Phil 3:6). He therefore must have considered them a threat to followers of the Torah. In Acts (6-8) the threat is seen through Stephen and his Hellenized followers of Jesus. They are threatening Torah-oriented Judaism. The members of the Jerusalem Church who existing side by side with more traditional Jews are not bothered and do not feel threatened.
We have already discussed the conflict between Jesus and the Sadducees, the Priestly collaborators and the more legalistic Shammaites who led the Pharisees at that time. Paul was a Pharisee. They were also associated with the politically active Zealots. 14 Paul’s position regarding marriage and associations with women clearly differs from the position held by Jesus. The Shammaites were fearful of women’s impurity, this was not the case with the Hillelites. The wife of Rabbi Eliezer the Shammaite (discussed in the chapter on Hillel and Jesus); was known as ‘imma shalom’ (mother of peace). Imma Shalom was once complemented on the handsomeness of her sons and was asked why she thought they were so. She responded Eliezer does not engage in intercourse with me either at the beginning or at the end of the night, but only at midnight. When he does so, he uncovers a handbreadth and covers up a handbreadth and it seems as if a demon were compelling him. I asked him the reason for this, and he replied: ‘That I may not set my mind on some other woman, lest my sons be mamzerim’ (an ‘illegitimate’ child not allowed to marry another Jew). 15 Eliezer is a hard-line Shammaite. Paul states ‘it is good for a man not to touch a woman’ (1 Cor. 7:1). This seems like a Shammaite and not the Hillel or Jesus. Paul had a pessimistic view of the world and its sinfulness – this is a Shammaite view (see chapter 3 of Hillel and Jesus).
G.F. Moore says ‘How a Jew of Paul’s antecedents could ignore and by implications deny the great prophetic doctrine of Judaism, namely, that God, out of love, freely forgives the sincerely penitent sinner and restores him to his favor – that seems from the Jewish point of view inexplicable’. 16 Paul the Shammaite would believe that. Similarly H.T. Schoeps stated that ‘Paul did not perceive and for various reasons was perhaps unable to perceive, that in the Biblical view the law is integral to the covenant . . . The law was no longer a living possession, and this for the obvious reason that he ceased to understand the totality and continuity of the Berith-Torah’ (covenant of Torah). 17 Paul was no longer preaching to Jews, but to Gentiles. Gaston believes that Paul accepted ‘righteousness through Torah’ for Jews and through ‘Christ for Gentiles’. 18 Gaston further believes that Paul’s conversion made him discover and perhaps develop further the Noahide laws as defining the ‘righteous Gentile’ so that salvation was possible for the Gentiles. 19 We will discuss the Noahide laws relative to Paul shortly.
Acts (22:3) claims that Paul studied at the feet of Gamaliel I, the son or possibly grandson of Hillel. In that period before the Temple’s destruction, the Hillelites did not control the Pharisees. Hillelite control of the Sanhedrin which existed before Hille’s death reoccurred post-destruction of the Temple led Yohanan ben Zakai and his successor Gamaliel II. Since Acts as well as the Gospels were written after the destruction of the Temple there may have been some confusion between the different Gamaliel’s. The text (Acts 5:34) tells us of Gamaliel I not being anti Jesus and suggesting letting God decide his importance. It would appear that this takes place several years after Jesus’ death. The question becomes if this Gamaliel is Paul’s teacher where did he learn to be zealous against Jesus’ followers. Gamaliel was leader of the Hillelites during the time Paul must have studied in Jerusalem – around the time of Jesus death or a year or two thereafter. But as we discussed earlier the Hillelites were tolerant towards Jesus and even towards Gentiles and had a pacific attitude towards their enemies. Paul could not have studied with Gamaliel and learnt his own defined zealous persecution of the Jesus followers.
Paul must have studied with an establishment leader at the time, a Shammaite. I believe Luke’s history was inaccurate. In this same text Luke refers to a ‘Theudas’ as if he lived earlier than Jesus, but we know from Josephus that he died ten years after Peter’s trial. At the time Like wrote Acts after the Temple was destroyed when a different Gamaliel II was already in power whose grandfather was also named Gamaliel I. Gamaliel I was a well known descendant of Hillel during the lifetime of Jesus. I believe Luke knew the name Gamaliel who was a ‘teacher of law’ during the time of Jesus, but he and the Hillelites were not the establishment party. Given Saul’s zealous actions against Jesus’ followers described by himself (Phil 3:6) he had to study from a Shamaite teacher. The Shammaites as we noted in the chapter of Jesus and Hillel (3) did strenuously object to Jesus’ teaching. If Saul learned this in Jerusalem Luke has the wrong teacher.
B. THE JERUSALEM CHURCH AND PAUL: THE ROAD NEVER TAKEN
According to Professor Beare ‘There is nothing whatever to indicate that the primitive church in Jerusalem, or any elements in it, differed from St. Paul either in the matter of Christology or in sacramental practices and ideas." 2 Some would agree many would not. One that seems certain is that both agreed that the Kingdom of God was coming soon. But in many times in Jewish history, especially during times of extreme suffering most Jews expected God to come. This was true before the great Roman war (66-72), the Bar Kokhba war (132-135) and in the aftermath of the Spanish expulsion (1492).
The perspective of the Jerusalem Church is known from Paul’s Letter to the Galatians and from the Book of Acts of the Apostles, written by Luke. Some confusion exists as to the number of meetings held by Paul in Jerusalem. The historical data presented in Galatians differs from Acts. The debates themselves seem clear in terms of the conflict; however the results differ.
The Jerusalem Church was clearly a Jewish sect believing in Jesus as the Messiah led by James, Jesus’ brother. Jews believe (then and know) in two roads to salvation, the Jewish way of following the Torah and a Gentile way, with a limited number of laws, called the Noachide Laws. The Noahide laws include prohibition against idolatry, lying under oath, killing, stealing, illicit sexual relations, cruelty to animals and establishing courts of law. Most theologians and biblical historians believe Paul rejected the Torah - the Law - and replaced it with faith; thus the sole way to salvation was faith in Jesus the Christ.
We follow Stendahl, Gaston and Gager in their belief that Paul did believe in two roads to salvation, one for Gentiles and one for Jews. W.D, Davis wrote that Paul observed the 613 commandments and was fully aware of the Noahide laws as being applicable to Gentiles. 20 This may explain a major apparent inconsistency in Paul’s thinking. Paul believed that ‘salvation was not to be found through the law’. This applied to Gentiles. He equally believed that ‘the law had been given by God’ for the Jews, 21 and that God’s election of the Jews was irrevocable (Rom. 11:29). Paul’s understanding of ‘Law’ referred to the Jewish Halakha given to and for the Jews. It was not meant for Gentiles. Gentiles had laws – Paul did not believe in anarchy – Noahide laws, but it had to within faith in Jesus the Christ.
After Paul’s vision he spent an indeterminate time in Arabia (perhaps three years) and then returned to Damascus. Later he met with Peter in Jerusalem stayed for fifteen days during which time he also saw James. He then went to Antioch. According to Paul’s own report after fourteen years he went again to Jerusalem. He briefly describes what happened in Galatians. In the Acts of the Apostles (chapter 15) Luke describes a debate that took place between Paul and the Jerusalem Church. The two reports are not identical.
The Jerusalem Church was composed of the direct disciples of Jesus, and similar to their Rabbi - Jesus – they were observant Jews. They lived in Jerusalem and observed all of the Jewish rituals including the sacrificial rituals. Very early in the history of the followers of Jesus a problem arose between the Jewish followers of Jesus and the Gentile followers of Jesus. Paul - the Apostle to the Gentiles - was a diasporian and a Hellenistic Jew - born in Tarsus - and thus held a perspective different from that of the Jews born and bred in the lands of Judea, Samaria and the Galilee. He was influenced by the syncretistic religious movements of his time and place. The extent to which his view of Jesus was influenced by Hellenistic Judaism can probably never be precisely defined. Montefiore and Parkes stated their views that Paul was mainly influenced by Diasporian influences. 22 Many current scholars reject the idea that Paul was overly influenced by Hellenism or Diasporian Judaism.
The main conflict between the Jerusalem Church and Paul centered around the question of the treatment of Gentiles. The Jerusalem Church clearly believed in the traditional Jewish two roads to salvation - the Torah law for the Jews and the Noachide laws for Gentiles.
The split between Paul and the Jerusalem Church is clearly visible from a meeting taking place in Jerusalem at which Paul and Barnabas met with James the leader of the disciples of Jesus.
Paul describes the meeting in Galatians; it was "inspired by a revelation" (Gal. 2:2). According to Paul the decision was as follows: ‘Even then, and although Titus, a Greek, was with me, there was no demand that he be circumcised. But because of some false brothers who had secretly insinuated themselves to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus, intending to reduce us to slavery – people we did not defer for one moment on the truth of the gospel preached to you might have been compromised. But those who were recognized as important people – whether they actually were important or not: there is no favoritism with God – those recognized leaders, I am saying had nothing to add to my message.’ (Gal. 2:3-6)
The passages are problematic because Paul had not defined the problem. They are defensive and ‘’tendentious’. 23 Who was demanding that Titus be circumcised? Neither in Galatians nor in Acts (discussed in a moment) does it appear that the position of the Jerusalem Church was to circumcise Gentiles unless they chose to fully join the Jewish people. It may that some Jews thought that Gentiles should circumcise and become full Jews if they wanted to associate with the Synagogue. It may also be that some Gentiles wanted to follow some Jewish laws but not all.
Who are ‘the false brethren who secretly insinuated themselves to spy on the ‘freedom’ we have in Christ Jesus’? We can understand the ‘freedom’ to be Paul’s law-free gospel. That is after all what he preached to the Galatians. But this is before his visit to Galatia; Paul was representing Antioch. Was a ‘law-free’ gospel being preached there? That some objected to that gospel seems clear. That some of objectors were in Jerusalem is also clear. Were they part of the party of ‘recognized important people who may not be important? Who could that be but James and Peter? And what does it mean ‘who may not be important’?
"Then James and Cephas [Peter] and John, who were the ones recognized as pillars, offered their right hands to Barnabas and to me as a sign of partnership. We were to go to the pagans and they to the circumcised" (Gal. 2:9). With what message?
Three are listed as pillars - pillars for the Jerusalem Church, while Paul recognizes himself as the partner (i.e. pillar) for the Gentiles. James is no longer the head of the Church. He is mentioned as one of the leaders, the others being Peter and John. According to Paul only James and Peter (Cephas) and he himself had separate visions of Jesus after his death (1 Cor. 15:7). James is known as the Righteous one due his strong adherence to the law. 24
It is difficult not to believe Paul is hiding much in these passages.
The Acts of the Apostles tells of the same meeting. Luke, of course was not at the meeting. His report can only come from Barnabas, Titus, Paul himself and possibly Peter.
The aim of Paul’s visit to Jerusalem was to discuss the issue of the treatment of Gentiles following the martyred Jesus. (Acts 15:2-3) Peter one of the leaders of the Jerusalem Church, told his colleagues that God made no distinction between Gentiles and Jews. ‘He made no difference between us and them; he forgave them their sins because they believed’ (Act 15:9). After hearing from Paul and Barnabas (and Peter) James disagreed about there being no difference between Jews and Gentiles. James declared:
"my verdict is, then, that instead of making things more difficult for Gentiles who turn to God [that is by converting them to full Jewish status], we should send them a letter telling them merely to abstain from anything polluted by idols, from illicit marriages, from meat of strangled animals and from blood." (Acts 15:19-20)
James defined a number of commandments required presumably for salvation; four of the seven Noahide laws for Gentiles. 25 This description seems more plausible than the open ended result described in Gal. 2:9. After all there were obvious problems of treating Gentiles, as we shall see momentarily at Antioch.
James ‘verdict’ regarding the criteria for full conversion to Judaism suggests that some Jewish Christians believed that full conversion was necessary. James holding a moderate position ruled that conversion was not necessary following Hillelite Halakha. 26 James chooses as laws applicable for Gentile believers, the Noachide laws: idolatry, forbidden sexual relations, slaughtering an animal before eating (the strangled animal) whose purpose was to exclude cruelty to animals 27 and blood meaning do not murder. James' `verdict' retains a difference between Jews and Gentiles. It is to be noted that circumcision - perhaps the most controversial issue -was apparently not raised. Circumcision was not an issue in Jerusalem where the number of God-fearers was limited and use of circumcision as a red marker for being Jewish was clear. The use of `my verdict' 28 by James, the brother of Jesus clearly bestowed upon him the head of the church. 29 Peter as we have seen had been assigned to be the Apostle to the Jewish Christians. Many scholars believe he was the mediating force between those who believed that Jesus’ mission was limited to the Jews and those who believing Jesus mission was directed as well to Gentiles. 30
The Jerusalem Church approved the position of the Antioch Church on differentiating between the two believers – Jewish and Christian - in Jesus as the Messiah. Those called ‘false brothers’ Jews who believed only full conversion would grant salvation where probably those whose conflict with Jesus can be found in the Gospels of the New Testament. Paul accuses them of preaching a false gospel (Gal. 1:8-9).
According to Nicholas Taylor ‘both churches would preach to and welcome all who would listen, but the gospel of circumcision, represented by James, Peter and John would be obligatory only for Jews and the gospel of un-circumcision, represented by Barnabas and Paul, would apply only to Gentiles.’ 31 Thus it appears that a form of unity between the two churches – in Jerusalem and Antioch - prevailed for awhile - two roads to salvation. But the Jerusalem Church was largely destroyed in the Roman-Jewish War. It appears that some survived escaping to Jordan. They became known as the Ebionites.
C. PAUL AND THE INCIDENT AT ANTIOCH
Antioch, in Syria, was the first metropolitan area (and the third largest city in the ancient world after Rome and Alexandria) where the Gospel of Jesus was taught primarily to Gentile Christians. They were not observers of the law; imminent eschatology was expected. These new ‘synagogues’ had probably separated from the Jewish synagogues. The Church at Antioch operated quite independently of the ‘Mother Church’ in Jerusalem. Luke called the Antioch community ‘Christians’ (Acts. 11.26) presumably they were independent from the synagogues. Sunday may have already been the day of worship and Baptism and the Eucharist may already have been celebrated. 32
The verdict pronounced by James contained an intrinsic problem in centers there were a significant number of Gentiles. Could there be separate rules in a Synagogue/Church believing in the Messiahship of Jesus, for those who were Jews and those who were Gentiles? The Church at Antioch had a significant mix of Jews and Gentiles. This was not the case in Jerusalem or elsewhere in Palestine.
Peter came to Antioch for reasons unbeknown to us. Jerusalem followers of Jesus were primarily Jews, many, perhaps most of those in Antioch were Gentiles. Those in Jerusalem followed James, those in Antioch may have followed Paul but possibly the more moderate Barnabas. It appears that Peter’s theological position was between Paul and James. 33 This incident appears in the Letter to the Galatians.
"However when Peter came to Antioch, then I [Paul] did oppose him to his face since he was manifestly in the wrong. Before certain people from James came, he used to eat with Gentiles, but as soon as these came, he backed out and kept apart from them, out of fear of the circumcised." (Gal. 2:11-12).
None of the above occurs in the Book of Acts. It is not difficult to understand since Luke wished to minimize the disputes between the Jerusalem Church and Paul. But Peter was accused of eating with Gentiles once before.
We know from Acts that Peter when visiting Caesarea met a Roman centurion named Cornelius. Just before meeting Cornelius Peter tells of a vision in which a voice says to him to eat non-kosher animals. Peter at first rejects this but then the voice ‘What God has made clean, you have no right to call profane’ (Acts 10:15). Peter then meets Cornelius and his family, eats with them and baptizes Cornelius and other Gentiles ‘in the name of Jesus Christ’ (Acts 10:48). Peter returns to Jerusalem and when questioned about eating with Gentiles he repeats the vision he had seen and the voice from heaven (Acts 11:2-17). ‘This account satisfied them’ (Acts 11:18). It is interesting that Peter, the Apostle to the Jews converts the first Gentiles to Jesus. This event raises two important questions. One when Peter baptized the Gentiles what else did he tell them? Did he tell them that Jesus, the Risen Christ was an observant Jew? Did he tell them about the Noahide laws? Second Peter went back to ‘the apostles and the brothers‘ in Jerusalem (Acts 11:1). Were they the ones that were satisfied with Peter’s vision and voice that said that eating non-kosher meat was ‘clean’? Is this why Peter felt that eating non-kosher with Gentiles was acceptable? This seems contradictory to the Jerusalem Church he have read in Acts 21:25-26 and to Paul’s version of the incident at Antioch just described (Gal. 2:11-12).
Paul is writing to or in Galatia about the previous event in Antioch where the environment was totally different. The ‘churches’ in Antioch (and Damascus) were still dominated by Palestinian Judaism. In Galatia while Paul was having problems with Judaizing among the followers of Jesus it is likely that Gentiles predominated. We shall discuss this in the next section.
If indeed there was a dispute between three parties, James, Peter and Paul this would explain Paul’s statement. James was a strict Pharisee recognizing the Noahide laws applying to ‘God-fearers’. In Jerusalem the vast majority of those accepting Jesus as the Messiah were observant Jews. 34 Peter was as well, but unlike James he had traveled to Antioch and realized that something had to be done with mixed communities. James not having traveled (so far as we know) to any mixed communities may have believed that God-fearing Gentiles following Noahide laws could be associated with the Synagogue. But if a significant number were Gentiles different problems arose.
Barnabas (who may have been equally important to Paul in the Church in Antioch) and the rest of the Jews joined Peter in withdrawing from the common meal (Gal. 2:13). Does this suggest that Barnabas, Peter and the Jews accepted James’ verdict (re the Noahide laws)? Does this suggest that Paul failed to convince the Jews to join with Gentiles in a common meal?
We know that Jews refrain from eating certain kinds of food. Jesus is himself never noted as eating with Gentiles. If Jesus had said per Mark ‘he declared all foods clean’ (Mk. 7:19) why would Jesus not eat pork? If that were the case the whole dispute between James and Paul could not have happened.
This is in fact a real problem. These dietary rules are Biblical, not the ‘tradition of the Pharisees or scribes’. How can the communities of followers in Jesus not share a meal together? Can only kosher food be provided? Would observant Jews simply not eat the non-kosher food but eat fruit and vegetables? Should only vegetarian food be provided? How does a Jew eat in the home of a Gentile believer in Jesus’? Refusing to eat in the home of a Gentile would clearly be an insult. Then as now different solutions where accepted by observant Jews. Eliezer ben Hyrcanus, known as a hardliner and a Shammaite never ate with Gentiles; he assumed all food by Gentiles was idolatrous (M. Hul. 2:7). 35 However many more lenient views can be found in the Jewish texts. One Mishnah assumed Jews in fact eat with Gentiles (M. Avoda Zarah 5:5). Gentile women may wet-nurse Jewish children although Jewish women may not wet-nurse Gentile children (M. Avoda Zarah 2:1). Rabbi Gamaliel, a descendant of Hillel is known to have frequented the baths of Aphordite (M. Avoda Zarah 3:4).
James whose community in Jerusalem was overwhelmingly composed of born Jews rarely if ever faced the problem, and thus all common meals were with kosher food. When Peter arrived in Antioch he found significant numbers, perhaps a majority of Gentile God-fearers. He may not have thought of the problem since it did not exist in Jerusalem.
Peter disregarded some laws while associating with Gentiles. Was he intimidated by the presence of James’ emissaries or did he understand that like Paul it was necessary to be a Jew when he was with Jews and a Gentile when he was with Gentiles? Paul whose entire mission was the conversion of Gentiles acted as a Gentile. Was Peter intimidated or did he prefer to eat with his Jewish coworkers? Is Paul contesting the leadership of the James or at least seeking equality?
Why did the emissaries from James come to Antioch? Did three communities exist simultaneously; an orthodox Jewish community, a Jewish Christian community and a Gentile Christian community? We will describe this very complicated situation later on in Rome. Were James men attempting to exert pressure from the mother Church in Jerusalem? Were they aware of Peter’s presence? According to Paul, they discovered that Peter was eating food with Gentile Christians. What food was Peter eating? If all the food was kosher why would Peter and other Jewish Christians withdrew from the table? We do not know Peter’s reaction or that of the emissaries – we have only Paul’s statements. How are Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians to share a meal? How to be a ‘community of the body of Christ’, for ‘we who are many are one bread, one body, for we all share in the one bread’ (1 Cor. 10:16) if we cannot eat bread together? 36
We see the position of the Jerusalem Church as the traditional Jewish - two roads to salvation. We also see the beginning of the conflict in Paul and his mission as the Apostle to the Gentiles. After Antioch, Paul separated from his long term associate Barnabas perhaps because Paul recognized that inevitably the Church and Synagogue needed to separate. ‘Paul the missionary was not the same man after the meetings with Jerusalem Church and the incident in Antioch; only from this point on does his missionary activity take on its world-wide aspect and its forward impetus’. 37
After the incident at Antioch, Paul left to establish his own Churches. Did Paul found a church of Gentiles where Jews were welcome and if so under what circumstances? In a Jewish community where Peter led the people to a belief in Jesus as the Messiah were Gentiles welcome and if so under what circumstances? It seems as if conflict was inevitable. 38
Paul acted as a Gentile when preaching to Gentiles, ‘to Jews I made myself like a Jew to win the Jews; to those under the law as one under the law (though I am not), in order to win those under the law; to those outside the law as one outside the law, though I am not outside the law but under Christ's law, to win those outside the law. . . . for me there are no forbidden things,’ (1 Cor. 9:20-21,29). Paul claimed that his role requires him to be a Gentile to Gentiles and a Jew to Jews. Paul first claimed that the Jewish laws were not applicable to him; that he changed Moses’ Law for Christ's law. What Paul meant (I believe) is that for Jews the law was the road to salvation. For Gentiles for whom Jewish Halakha the law was not applicable, faith in Jesus substitutes for the Law. Despite Paul stating that he is ‘not under the law’ he has told use elsewhere that he is. He who accepts ‘circumcision is obligated to keep the whole law’ (Gal. 5:3-4).
In the primarily Gentile communities where Paul preached there where some Jews and among them there was confusion as to the requirements of Gentiles. Once Paul invited Gentiles into the Messianic community, table fellowship and the food laws (not required by the Noahide laws) were bound to go.
D. A NEW PARADIGM FOR PAUL’S THEOLOGY
Paul believed in two roads to salvation, one for Gentiles and one for Jews. 39 Paul saw his mission as giving Gentiles a ‘Road to Salvation’. Since Jews had the Road this required defining the salvation rules for Gentiles. He did this by creating what Kristen Stendahl called a ‘Judaism for Gentiles’. 40 Or as Rabbi Jacob Emden suggested Paul was creating a religion to follow the Noahide Commandments. 41 This what James agreed to at the Jerusalem Council. ‘Many Jews would have sympathized with Paul’s mission to enjoin morality on the gentiles’. 42
James wanted to add to Judaism a belief in the Messiahship of Jesus. As a result of Paul the Jerusalem Church had agreed to Paul’s actively propagating for Gentile God-fearers to follow the Noahide laws and be associated with Judaism. 43 However the incident at Antioch had drastically altered the status quo and Paul (and others) believed more had to be done.
According to the Book of Acts soon after the Council meeting in Jerusalem and the Incident at Antioch Paul focused his missionary activities on regions away from Palestinian Jewish influence middle-east to Galatia, Thessalonica and Corinth (Acts. 16:6, 18:23) Paul apparently left Antioch because is the debate about the rules for Gentile salvation were much in conflict. The problem for Paul was not only rules for Gentiles, but more importantly he learnt from Antioch that the differentiation between Jews and Gentiles had to be made clear.
Paul was in the process of creating a ‘Judaism for Gentiles’ that could no longer be considered Judaism. We will see this development in his letters to the Galatians and to the Romans as in other letters. Furthermore he came to realized that he was forced to compete with other emissaries of Jesus such as ‘James men’ (Gal. 2:11).
Paul departure from Antioch marked his entry into a world not dominated by Palestinian Judaism. Asia minor, North Africa and the Southeastern Mediterranean where early Christianity developed in its first few centuries is where Palestinian Judaism was weakest and Hellenistic Judaism (which is not very well described in the literature 44) was strongest. In Corinth and Galatia Paul discovered that he had been preceded by emissaries preaching different gospels. It is possible that in both cities his opponents were men associated with James trying to convince Jews of the Messiahship of Jesus.
The Jews were a major religion; it has been estimated that 10-15% of the inhabitants of this Roman world were Jews and God-fearers or God-seekers adopting Jewish ethics. In all the major cities of the Roman Empire including Rome, Alexandria and Antioch were inhabited by Jews. The synagogues were open and welcomed Gentiles. Josephus tells us that ‘there is not one city, Greek or barbarian, nor a single nation, to which our custom of abstaining from work of the seventh day has not spread’. 45 From Paul’s writings it is clear that he was an accomplished orator; thus he easily found an audience. often in the Synagogue. While he was preaching to the Gentiles the Jews in the audience rejected his Gentile intended positions. .
Then there were Jewish Christians included ‘James men’, Peter, Barnabas, the other three brothers (Joseph, Judas and Simon) of Jesus (1 Cor. 9:5) and others were all working this territory preaching Jesus in various ways. Paul writing to the Corinthians says ‘any chance comer has only to preach a Jesus other than the one we preached’ and in the next verse he writes ‘I consider that I am not in the least inferior to the super-apostles’ (2 Cor. 11:4-5). Whether these are James men or Jesus’ brothers or other ‘apostles’ what is clear is that many people are preaching Jesus as the Messiah – some are Jewish Christians preaching to Jews about preach Jewish law including circumcision; some are preaching to Gentile God-fearers who wish to associate with the Synagogue and follow Jewish customs and rituals; and Paul who is at this point (after leaving Antioch) preaching a Gentile Christianity unrelated to Jewish customs and Jewish law.
They all would tell that the Kingdom of God was at hand to be brought by the Risen Jesus. James (who in the four Gospels is not known as close to Jesus) became the leader of Jesus’ followers in Jerusalem owing to his relation to Jesus. The three brothers carried the prestige of the family relationship and traveled missionizing their risen brother. Did they raise the flag in Corinth, Galatia and Rome where we know Paul had problems. Were any going beyond preaching to Jews? Was anyone preaching the Noahide laws to Gentiles? As we shall see Paul writes much against the law and is preaching a ‘law-free’ gospel. It is law-free relative to Noahide laws. The Noahide are as we have already noted are laws essential for functioning of a God-oriented society to operate.
In parallel Paul was preaching to Gentiles the same belief in Jesus but removed the need to follow Jewish law. In Thessalonica we heard of Jews hindering Paul (1 Thess. 2:16) and in Corinth Paul had problems with the Jewish community (2 Cor. 11:21-29) even perhaps punished. Were these part of Jewish orthodoxy? Were they variations of ‘James men’? In Galatia some Jewish Christians were advocating that Gentiles be circumcised; ‘unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses you cannot be saved (Acts 15:1).
Many Jewish Christians followed the gospel of James and the Jerusalem Church. They resembled the orthodox community but believed their crucified Messianic Rabbi was raised for the purpose of returning quickly to usher in the Kingdom of Heaven. While most Jews reject the idea of a dead Messiah there are and have been exceptions. Rabbi Nachman of Breslov who died in 1811 in Uman, the Ukraine, is seen by his current day disciples as the Messiah and thousands go to his grave to pray during the High Holy Days. The Rabbi of Lubavitch who died in 1995 is revered by some of his disciples as the Messiah and they proclaim his living Messiahship three times a day at each prayer time.
Gentile Christians are God-fearers who choose not to join the Jewish community (male circumcision was a real ‘show stopper’). They were offered the Noahide laws by James’ gospel, some took a more Judaized form accepting more Jewish rituals; the Shabbat and dietary laws are mentioned in Romans. (Barnabas may have been preaching just such a gospel.) and then Paul’s came law-free gospel. The variations of ritual observant acceptance range from very strict to very lax.
Paul fought against the Judaizers in Galatia, Rome, Thessalonica and Corinth he also fought Hellenistic Jewish Holy Men. In Ephesus Paul healed and exorcised. A ‘Jewish chief priest’ named Sceva competes with Paul using the name of Jesus in his incantations and heals (Acts 19:11-17). There were no ‘chief priests’ in Ephesus. A Jewish Christian is competing with Paul for Gentile conversion. Paul won the debate and Sceva and his associates were beaten ‘violently’ and ‘mauled’ (Acts 19:16). Who was Sceva? The competition had become very personal and even violent on both sides. Earlier in Corinth Paul was apparently accused of being a fool (II Cor. 11:1), crazy with boasting (10:13,15,12:11), tampering with God’s word, perhaps preaching himself (4:2-5)
The variety of differing types of Jewish Christianity was great and the competition was intense both against Jewish orthodoxy and the Jewish Christians. Jewish orthodoxy in fact was not moribund and legalistic as it had been described by many nineteenth and early in the twenty century Christian scholars. Gaston has written that ‘second century Christian writers all wrote in the shadow of the synagogue, of whose existence they were very much aware but with whose leaders that did not dare to enter into debate’. 46 If it were true in the second century then one must conclude that Paul’s competition with orthodoxy in the first century must have been great. The eventual success which Paul enjoyed can be partly attributed to Paul’s knowledge of Hellenistic Judaism. ‘James men’ came from Palestinian Judaism.
Terence Donaldson analyses Paul’s conversion as a Paradigm shift. He describes this process as one in which a person having previously accepted a ‘set of received beliefs’ then reject them. It is not a step-by-step process of logical reasoning but rather a ‘transfer of allegiance from one set of convictions to another’. Prior to his vision Paul may have sensed ‘the incompatibility of the message of a crucified and risen Messiah with his Torah-centered way of looking at the world’. He first understood that Christianity as threatening his Torah centered paradigm (Gal. 1:13-14; Phil. 3:6). 47 After his vision of the ‘Risen Christ’ be became a zealous believer.
How does one resolve conflicts originating from an old paradigm when one suddenly finds a new paradigm relevant? By radical transformation.
Paul’s new paradigm centered on ‘Jesus’ hence he rejected his previous ‘Torah’ based center. Paul rejected his old paradigm when he was zealously persecuting believers in Jesus and wholly adopted his new paradigm. 48 During his pre-Christian phase Paul was as we have noted, a Shammaite – they believed that Gentiles had at best a secondary status in the world, if they were not excluded from salvation. When Paul fully recognized his role as the Apostle to the Gentiles he totally rejected his former beliefs.
Could Paul not reconcile belief in Jesus with the law as the members of the Jerusalem Church Jesus’ own disciples had? If his conversion was a paradigm change, reconciliation was impossible. It is also noted that Paul conversion experience did not occur in Jerusalem but near Damascus. Both Raisanen and Segal believe that Hellenistic Jewish Christian communities already existed. 49 Thus he a found communities, perhaps without a theology, but operating in not quite a ‘law-free’ environment but not being circumcised or following Jewish dietary laws.
To quote Donaldson, Paul’s personal experience required ‘a thoroughgoing reconfiguration of his former constellation of convictions’. 50 The distinctions defined by Paul – Jew/Gentile - were ambiguous because he believed his generation was to be the last generation. However as generations evolved these ambiguous distinctions as Paul held them (perhaps with difficulties 51) grew into disjunctive dichotomies.
Paul ‘adopted an attitude of sectarian separation from the Jewish community’. This required rules of separation, rules for a religious divorce. Paul was not creating a new religion to be called ‘Christianity’. A new religion called Christianity was created and eventually it was completely separated from Judaism; however this occurred one hundred or more years later. The connection between Judaism and Christianity continued for a long time. The conflicts noted in Paul’s letters focus on beginnings of the divorce. In some of these communities Jews joined who may have continued their Jewish rituals. Some of these rituals may have appealed to some Gentiles; that was the Judaizing problem which continued for centuries.
As an example of the separation Paul was seeking we can use the community at Qumran. They considered themselves separate from the Temple Jews; they considered the Temple illegitimate. If we accept Josephus that they numbered 4,000 Essene; the size of Qumran could only hold several hundred dictates that the remainder lived in other Jewish cities (we know of Damascus) and villages, but quite separately. The Essene tradition was based on a solar calendar as opposed to the traditional Jewish lunar calendar; hence all their holidays including Yom Kippur were different than the Temple Jews. The Essenes considered themselves to be superior Jews calling themselves the ‘true Israel’. Their ‘Teacher of Righteousness’ established the rituals for this Qumran community. He believed he was specially chosen by God. In Josephus writings one finds a description of an exorcism he himself witnessed by the ‘Teacher’ in the presence of Vespasian and his soldiers. 52 They were ‘monastic’ and celibate, they continually immersed themselves in themselves in holy waters and also ate communally. They were also very hostile, verbally to the Jerusalem Jews. They considered themselves to be the ‘holy remnant’. They then reinterpreted the scriptures with their own commentary. (It is intriguing how much of these thought patterns resemble Paul’s theology and later the Gospel writers, see chapter 4.)
Francis Watson suggests that essentially Paul followed a theory of Denouncing Jewish Law (Thesis), Hostility to the Jewish orthodox Community (Antithesis) and Reinterpretation of the scriptures (Synthesis). 53 This is wholly consistent with the paradigm change described by Donaldson. Watson describes the shift as a move from a ’Torah centered’ paradigm to a ‘Christ centered’ paradigm.
In Galatians the denunciation is clear. ‘As we have said before, so now I say again, If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed’ (Gal. 1:9), I warn you (Gal. 5:21 & 2 Cor. 13:2 & Phil. 3:18).
Paul thus developed a Christ-centered thesis and a ‘law-free’ gospel as the antithesis. ‘If righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing’ (Gal. 2:21); ‘if salvation is through Christ, it cannot be through Torah’. 54 During his pre-conversion days Paul persecuted believers who subscribed to the Messiahship of Jesus and after his conversion to believers in the law. No inherent conflict exists between Torah and belief in the Messiahship of Jesus. James and his followers believed in Jesus and Jewish law. Paul is not really preaching a law-free gospel; that would anarchy; he is preaching differentiation between traditional Jews and future Christians. He does not preach that grace or salvation come regardless of ones actions. Paul is a ‘Hebrew of the Hebrews’; he understands that sin, law and punishment are related. ‘Whatever a man sows that he will also reap. For he who sows to the flesh will from the flesh reap corruption; but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life’. (Gal. 6:7-8). Jesus and Hillel would have agreed to that statement. What Paul required was a separation between his Jesus centered religion and the Torah centered religion; an antithesis.
The next step is reinterpreting the scriptures and the tradition.
Paul reinterprets the role of Abraham. Abraham despite his circumcision lived before the law was given to Moses on Mt. Sinai. The Jewish community; children of Abraham who accepted the law on Mt. Sinai were the ‘seed’ of Abraham. Paul needed Abraham as an ancestor; Jesus was Jewish and thus considered Abraham his father. ‘Be sure then that it is the people of faith who are the children of Abraham’ (Gal. 3:7) and not the Judaizers. His Abraham is of the spirit, not of the flesh. We will discussed this again as does Paul in Romans.
The level of Paul’s anger can be seen with his concluding remarks. ‘I could wish that those who are unsettling you would go further and mutilate [castrate) themselves’ (Gal. 5:12). It would be difficult to express one self more bitterly that these statements. Paul is invoking his curse (Gal.1:19) and ill wishes against Judaizers.
At a later date Paul writes a letter more theological in nature to the Romans, the largest mixed community of Jewish and Gentile believers-in-Jesus. This letter is Paul’s only attempt at theological reasoning. Most scholars understand that a significant difference existed between the community in Galatians and in Rome; consequently the responses to the questions (unknown to us)were required. ‘Different questions require different answers’. 55
The Letter to the Romans itself is divided into two sections: the universalism preached by Paul to the Gentiles in the first eight chapters and the recognition of the debt owed by Gentiles to the Jews in chapters 9-11.
The letter to Romans was composed and written to an existing community in the mid fifties. In order to understand the letter one need to understand the community and the needs of that community. In Romans 14:1-15 we are told that two communities existed in Rome, one called ‘weak’ and one called ‘strong’. Paul defines the former as followers of the Jewish laws, primarily Jewish Christians and the latter primarily Gentiles who did not follow Jewish law. ‘The weak man eats only vegetables’ (Rom. 14:2) and abstain from wine (14:21). This would describe people particularly concerned with Kosher meat and wine. Apparently some observed the Sabbath on Saturday (Rom. 14:5) and other Jewish fast days. It appears that the two groups were mutually respectful of each others rules. Apparently there are two Christian congregations – one Jewish and one Gentile, as well as an orthodox Jewish diaspora community.
However, in lieu of exacerbating the tensions as he did in Galatia (because he was personally attacked) Paul chose to work differently in Rome. ‘Now the God of perseverance and encouragement give you all the same purpose, following the example of Christ Jesus so that you may together give glory to God and Father of our Lord Christ Jesus with one heart . . . Welcome one another, therefore as Christ welcomed you’ (Rom. 15:5-7). Does Paul believe that he can convert the Jewish Christians to his law-free gospel and separate them from the orthodox Jewish community? Apparently so.
In Chapter 1 Paul states "salvation is for everyone who has faith - Jews first, but Greeks as well" (Romans 1:16). Here Paul distinguishes between Jews and Gentiles whom Paul refers to as Greeks; they are separate but equal. His main objective is to justify the status of Gentiles and define the rules for salvation, he was not concerned with the Jews. However given the existence of a mixed community preaching justification by faith and the lack of the need for circumcision, some would have thought he was addressing Jews.
Chapters 2,3 and 4 of the Letter to the Romans present arguments against Jewish Christians being part of the Jewish community; Paul aims to have them join the Gentile Christian community. These are the clearest reasoning of Paul’s belief that separation was essential for the growth of Christianity. One cannot deny the success of Paul’s prescription nor the cost.
Paul begins Roman 2 with a description of an xenophobic Jew who is an intolerant hypocrite believing his obedience to the law and as well as his circumcision will result in automatic salvation; the Gentiles having neither are condemned. Paul is painting an extreme version of the Shammaite Jew he once was. Paul’s argument is that God’s judgment is impartial as to whether one is a Jew or a Gentiles and God judges people based on their deeds. This section provides ample proof that Paul was not preaching a ‘law free’ gospel. He writes a defense of ‘works’. ‘Trouble and distress will come to every human being who does evil – Jews first, but Greeks as well; glory and honor and peace will come to everyone who does good – Jews first but Greeks as well. There is not favoritism with God’ (Rom. 2:9-11). And then ‘the doers of the law will be justified’ (Rom. 2:13). Of course this viewpoint is the view of Hillel.
The purpose of Roman 3 and 4 is justification of the separation between the Jewish Christian community from the Jewish community and its attachment to the Gentile Christian Church.
In the early part of Romans 3 (1-20) Paul argues (as he did in Romans 2) that obeying the law is not a pre-condition for salvation and that from God’s perspective Jew and Gentile are judged by deeds. He begins the chapter with ‘Is there any benefit then in being a Jew? Is there any advantage in being circumcised? A great deal in every way’ (Rom. 2:1-2), if you are Jewish. Verse 5 is very difficult. Watson translates/paraphrases it as follows: ‘You have just affirmed that Israel’s guilt in no way annuls God’s covenant – promise of salvation. Would you not agree that God would therefore be unfaithful; to his covenant if he inflicted punishment on the Jews?’ 56 Of course God inflicts punishment on evildoers, both Jewish or Gentile. The scriptures make this view clear; evil receives punishment – viz. Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel among others. Paul then introduces his conclusion contradicting verses 1-2. ‘Well are we any better off not at all, we have already indicted Jews and Greeks as being all alike under the dominion of sin’. (3:9). That all are somewhat sinful the Rabbis would agree; that no one can do all 613 commandments the Rabbis also agreed. 57 However one need not throw out the baby with the bathwater. Repentance is possible and salvation is therefore possible to Jews and Gentiles as the Hillelites would agree. Paul is preaching to the Jewish Christians that the law is not sine qua non for salvation. 58 No human being will be justified in his sight by works of the law’ (Rom. 3:20).
In the second part of the chapter (verses 21-31) Paul argues that faith in Christ is God’s means of salvation for Gentiles; he suggests this may pertain to Jews as well. There is no Jewish privilege. The key to this section is the death and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus sacrifice is a form of repentance. The Jewish Christians believed that Jesus sacrifice applied only to Jews. Paul ends the chapter asking Do we overthrow the law by this faith? Out of the question - we uphold the law’ (3:31). According to Lloyd Gaston most Christian Pauline theologians would answer this question with a ‘Yes’, we overthrow the law – despite Paul’s ‘No’. 59
Having defined the thesis – the Law, Paul then defines the antithesis - works and faith. Paul reinterprets the Jewish view of Abraham in Romans 4. The traditional Jewish view of Abraham is his obedience to God - his willingness to sacrifice Isaac – makes him the original recipient of the ‘promise’ i.e. salvation. Abraham according to Paul’s view is granted ‘righteousness’ by God’s grace. Abraham righteousness was irrelevant to his circumcision; his circumcision was simply his membership in the community of Jews. Those who continue his faith and righteousness, regardless of circumcision retain his promise. ‘That is why the promise is to faith, so that it comes as a free gift and is secure for all the descendants, not only those who rely on the law but all those others who rely on the faith of Abraham, the ancestor of us all - as scripture says I have made you the father of many nations. Abraham is our father in the eyes of God in whom he put his faith, and who brings the dead to life’ (4:15-17). The implication is that membership in the Jewish community is unnecessary for salvation. Paul is explaining why these Jewish Christians do not need to belong to the Jewish community. In addition the Gentile Christian could consider itself children of Abraham.
Paul intends to prove in chapter 9 that God in His scriptures gives Abraham’s heirs the blessing not only to his descendants by flesh, i.e. Ishmael is not chosen and later Esau is not chosen. God chooses Isaac and Jacob. God has now chosen to bless the Gentiles through Jesus. ‘Israel did not understand’ (Romans. 10:19). What did Israel not understand? Their role in being `a light to the Gentiles' which Paul was preaching. In this manner Paul’s message bears a resemblance to that of Isaiah.
The problem that come up again and again for Paul was the rejection by Jews of his mission to Gentiles. 60 Paul knew, from his own revelation, that he was ordained to bring God to the Gentiles through Jesus. But his own people - the Jews – consistently rejected his position; misunderstanding his mission to be `a light to the nations'. The Jews held that by obeying the law they were guaranteed a special privileged status not available to those who did not observe the law. Paul was preaching that believers in Jesus were equally entitled to gain that special privileged status. The Jews rejected his idea that faith in Jesus was a sufficient condition for Gentiles status.
Paul's intra-psychic conflict regarding Jewish and Gentile believers-in-Jesus in the Roman community is seen in opening verses of chapter 9:
‘ This is the truth and I am speaking in Christ, without pretence, as my conscience testifies for me in the Holy Spirit; there is great sorrow and unremitted agony in my heart. I could pray that I myself might be accursed and cut off from Christ, if that could benefit the brothers who are my own flesh and blood’ (Rom. 9:1-3).
The unquestionable emotionality expressed by terms such as ‘great sorrow and unremitted agony in my heart' and I pray that I be `accursed' and `cut off from Christ' reveal the anguish he experiences between a sincere conflict between his people - the Jews - and his newly founded communities.
Paul then uses eight terms to impress upon Gentiles the important role of the Jews.
"They are Israelites; it was they who were adopted as children, the glory was theirs and the covenants; to them were given the Law and the worship of God and the promises. To them belong the fathers and out of them, so far as physical descent is concerned, came Christ who is above all, God, blessed for ever." (Rom. 9:4-5)
1. Adopted as children - He is emphasizing a father/son relationship between God and Israel.
2. The Glory - The Jews have the glory of God. Paul uses the term glory for both God and for Jesus. He calls Jesus `Lord of Glory' (1 Cor. 2:8), writes of God's glory and the glory of Christ (2 Cor. 4:6).
3. Covenants – Plural two covenants - the old one for Jews and a new one for Gentiles. Paul is developing the new covenant.
4. The giving of the Law - As Paul said earlier in Romans ‘Do we then overthrow the Law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the Law.’ (Romans 3:29-31) He said the same in Galatians (3:21) and Romans. 7:12,22.
5. The Worship – As a rule Paul does not refer to worship, since for most Jews and certainly for the Jerusalem Church it refers to the Temple. But it is part of the connection of Jews to Gentiles he is developing.
6. Promises - The promises to Abraham in Genesis 22:18.
7. The Fathers - The Patriarchs - Again Paul is emphasizing the relation of the new community to the old community. In other contexts Paul mentions Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and David as part of the line of descend.
8. Christ - Christ in flesh, that is biological descent originating from Israel - that is Jesus the Jew.
The ongoing connection between God and the Jewish people continues in chapter 11. It begins ‘What I am saying is this that God abandoned his people? Out of the question!‘ Gaston noted that most Christian theologians answer this question with a ‘Yes’, God has abandoned the Jews – despite Paul’s ‘No’. 61 It is important to Paul to emphasize God's faithfulness through His promises in the Bible. At this time only one Bible existed– the Hebrew Bible translated into Greek and called the Septuagint. For Paul, the ‘Jews God’s chosen people, and they will remain so, but now the Gentiles also have unlimited access to the God of Israel’ (Rom.11:1). 62 Israel has had its hearts hardened by God and thus rejected Christ (Rom. 11:8). This is God’s plan to include Gentiles in his plan for salvation. 63
"When the first fruits [the Jews] are made holy, so is the whole batch; and if the root is holy, so are the branches. Now suppose that some branches were broken off, and you are a wild branch [believing Gentiles], grafted among the rest to share with the others the rich sap of the olive tree; then it is not for you to consider yourself superior to the other branches; and if you feel proud, think: it is not you that sustain the root, but the root that sustains you." (Rom. 11:16-18)
The believers-in-Jesus are holy precisely because Jesus’ people - the Jews - are holy. The Jews represent the roots. Even separated as a `wild branch' - the Gentiles - are `sustained' by the root. Thus Paul clearly connects the Gentile community as a descendant of Judaism. Continues Paul states
"From Zion will come the Redeemer, he will remove godlessness from Jacob, And this will be my covenant with them, when I take their sins away. As regard the gospel, they are enemies, but for your sake; but as regards those who are God's choice, they are still loved for the sake of their ancestors. There is no change on God's part about the gifts he has made or of his choice." (Rom. 11:25-29)
God's choice is the Jews, even if they explain and even if they rejected the Gospels, not the Gospels as we know it – not yet written - but the story of Jesus - his crucifixion and resurrection. There is nothing here about the Jews sinfulness that has not been said by Ezekiel.
In the epilogue of Romans, as Paul is departing for Jerusalem he concludes by noting a gift from the Gentiles to the poor Jews from Macedonia and Achaia. ‘For if the Gentiles have been given a share in their spiritual possessions, then in return to give them help with material possessions is repaying a debt to them.’ (15:27) Paul is telling the Gentile believers-in-Jesus, to recognize their spiritual indebtedness to the Jews, despite the conflict between Jews and the Gentile believers-in-Jesus.
A problem in this sequence is noted by Francis Watson, ‘It is ironic that Paul’s arguments for the consistency of God in 9-11 are themselves inconsistent. Romans 11 is based on the definition of the chosen people rejected in Romans 9’. 64 This has also been noted by Sanders; Paul’s solution is a ‘somewhat desperate expedient’. 65 This ‘Later Paul’ as noted by Campbell ‘seems to be completely at odds with the ‘Earlier Paul’ and contrasts sharply with the previously well-known pattern of his life and his publicly proclaimed gospel in his letters to other churches. Is the different voice the result of the apostle facing a changed situation, or the outcome of a development in his thought?’ 66 ‘Is it really likely that Paul would recognize the rights of Jewish Christians in certain situations to continue to abide by the law? Would he not have advocated that they forsake the synagogue?’ Or could it ‘be argued that revised reading of Paul emerges from post-Holocaust guilt, and that we are now trying to update our image of him to suit a revised understanding of what constitutes liberal Christianity?’ 67 Or does Paul really believe in the ‘inclusion of Jews and Gentiles both’. 68
Paul’s Church ‘was not established by admitting Gentiles to Israel according to the flesh but by admitting all, whether Jew or Greek, into the body of Christ by faith in him. Admission was sealed by baptism, most emphatically not by circumcision and acceptance of the law. . . . Paul’s gentile church were a third entity. Gentile converts definitely had to separate themselves from important aspects of Greco-Roman life, but they were not Jewish enough to make them socially acceptable to observant Jews, whether Christian or non-Christian. Jewish Christians would have to give up aspects of the law if they were to associate with Gentile Christians. Paul’s view of the church, supported by his practice against his own conscious intention, was substantially that it was a third entity, not just because it was composed of both Jews and Greeks, but also because it was in important ways neither Jewish nor Greek’. 69 Sanders is stating that Paul is beginning the establishment a new religion. This religion will eventually be called ‘Christianity’.
The most difficult problem with Paul is trying to understand his position on the law – was he preaching a ‘law-free’ gospel where only the sacrifice of Jesus and the grace of God guaranteed salvation. ‘Law-free’ means free of Jewish law – Halakha. Halakha is not applicable to Gentiles.
‘In fact through the law I am dead to the law, so that I can be alive to God’. (Gal. 2:19)
‘For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse’ (Gal. 3:10).
‘Now it is evident that no man is justified before God by the law’ (Gal. 3:11).
‘For no human being will be justified in his sight by works of the law, since through the law comes knowledge of sin (Rom. 3:20).
‘Israel who pursued righteousness which is based on the law did not succeed in fulfilling that law’ (Rom. 9:31).
‘through the body of Christ [you] have become dead to the law and so you are able to belong to someone else [Jesus]. (Rom. 7:4).
Based on statements such as these the great German historian Adolf Harnack stated the traditional view of Paul ‘It was Paul who delivered the Christian religion from Judaism. It was he who confidently regarded the Gospel as a new force abolishing the religion of law’. 70 However contradictory statements exist.
‘Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not (Gal. 3:21).
‘What is the advantage of the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? Much in every way’ (Rom. 3:1).
‘Do we overthrow the law through faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law’. (Rom. 3:31).
‘What shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! (Rom. 7:7)
‘Thus the law is holy, and the commandments is holy and just and good’ (Rom.7:12).
‘so I dearly love God’s law’ (Rom. 7:22).
It is clear that Paul uses ’nomos’ law’ or ‘works of law’ in different ways. He upholds the law (Rom. 3:31) while claiming that Jesus did not sacrifice his life in order for righteousness to come from the law (Gal. 2:21). In Galatians as has been discussed Paul is not criticizing Jews, but Gentile Christians who are Judaizing. Paul developed his own plan for salvation of the Gentiles. At times he is criticizing the Shammaite view of Jewish privilege and election and that Gentiles cannot be saved and their xenophobic of ethnic Jews. However some Christians believed Judaizing made them better persons. Paul criticized Gentiles who observed circumcision (Gal.6:15; 1 Cor. 7:19), the Jewish day of service (Shabbat) and dietary laws (Rom. 14:1-6). A large portion of Paul’s connection of ‘law’ and ‘sin’ in Romans (particularly chapter 7) and Galatians (chapter 3) seem tortured and almost non-understandable. Paul is trying build a connection between two disparate ideas; his belief that despite God giving the law salvation for Gentiles comes from faith in Christ.
W.D. Davies suggests that the ‘Law’ problem in Paul is that he is assumes an eschatological and post-messianic period. 71 The Rabbis discuss this issue and ask what Torah and what scriptures would apply in the Messianic age. 72 While recognizing this as a legitimate issue they do not arrive at any definitive conclusion. One can venture to view Paul as an eschatological Midrash not unlike the works of some of the Rabbis of old. He assumed that the eschaton would arrive in his generation. If one accepts Davies’ analysis Paul may have been teaching a Torah of the Eschaton before its time. The fact that we are living almost 2,000 years later attests to the fact that the Eschaton has not yet arrived. H.J. Schoeps shares the belief that eschatology explained much of Paul’s thinking. He says that ‘The eschatological relevance of the situation stands behind all his [Paul’s] statements’. 73
Paul experienced a vision and this radically transformed his previous beliefs. He was ‘born again’. Perhaps the result of the transformation can best be described by Paul’s prologue to Romans. ‘Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle of God. . . Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh. And declared to be the Son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.’ (Rom. 1:1-4). These statements are against Jewish beliefs although not anti-Judaic. It is a new creed. It is hard to believe that James, Jesus’ historic brother would understand this formula.
A convert is generally defined as a person who substitutes one religious system for another. To what did Paul convert from and to what did he convert to? One cannot say that Paul converted from Judaism to Christianity since the latter did not yet exist. He would certainly not have understood his encounter with Jesus as a departure from Judaism or entering into a religion called Christianity – he never used the term. What has he done? He converted to becoming ‘The Apostle to the Gentiles’. He was creating a Judaism for Gentiles. Did he leave Judaism - not from his perspective.
Paul tells us of his life before his vision. ‘In matters of the law I was a Pharisee; as for religious fervor I was a persecutor of the Church; as for the uprightness embodied in the Law I was faultless’ (Phil. 3:6) I believe Paul was a Shammaite. Paul acted with zeal against the Jesus followers. Shammaites were part of a zealot movement – in fact they supported that movement which ended with the destruction of the Temple. After Hillel’s death early in the first century, Shammai and his followers became the majority view among the sages. If Paul studied in Jerusalem in the late 20’s he would be studying with the Shammaites. The most extreme version of the Shammaites was Rabbi Eliezer. He believed ‘none of the Gentiles has a portion in the world to come’ (Tos. 13:2). In the same text Rabbi Joshua stated that the righteous among the nations do have a portion in the world to come. Rabbi Joshua opinion was the normative position held Hillelite Halakha. In fact Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakai was of the opinion that giving charity alone made a heathen worthy of the world to come (BT Baba Batra 10b). Rabbi Eliezer’s hard-line positions eventually had him excommunicated by the Sanhedrin.
Did Paul in his ‘pre-Jesus’ days believe as did Rabbi Eliezer that Gentiles could not attain salvation? That might explain his radical transformation to a new system that emphasized Gentiles in the system of salvation. Paul tells us he was ‘a zealot for the traditions of his ancestors’ (Gal.1:14).
In contrast Hillelites by their own definition were not zealous but tolerant and in terms of the Roman overlords pacifistic. Johanan ben Zakai – a Hillelite - escaped during the siege from Jerusalem – called a traitor by some, he went to the Romans to ask for permission to move to Yavne with his students and he restarted Judaism. From what we can gather from Paul’s letters he was a Shammaite who believed Gentiles were doomed. After his transformation he believed he had an obligation to save them.
Paul did not conceptualize his vision as a conversion but as a call similar to that of the prophets, ‘to bring God’s message to the Gentiles’. 74 As he himself wrote he had ‘the grace given to me by God to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles’(Rom. 15:16). And as Gaston wrote it is ‘clear that Paul’s converts were all Gentiles’. 75
Paul was a student of Judaism and was conversant with Hillel’s view that Gentiles were required only to observe the seven Noahide laws for salvation. But he also knew that made them second-class citizens. His vision instructed him to go approach Gentiles convinced him that there must be equality between both groups. ‘There can be neither Jew or Greek, there can be neither slave nor freeman, there can be neither male nor female’ (Gal. 3:28). He could preach the Noahide laws – which are required for any civilized society to function. The Noahide laws are based on ethical considerations in fact followed by Christians (and Muslims) as basic requirements for a ‘civilized’ religious society. The Noahide laws include prohibition against idolatry, lying under oath, killing, stealing, illicit sexual relations, cruelty to animals and establishing courts of law. However Paul was fully aware of the double bind implicit in such an arrangement. Being associated with the Synagogue as Noahide observers would make them inferior. He was the Jesus ordained Apostle, equal to the other Apostles. . He could never accept second-class citizenship for his people. It implied that he himself was a second-class Apostle.
In Antioch, in Galatia and elsewhere he realized that equality within Judaism was an impossibilty. The circumcised would always view themselves as superior. Eating together was a problem as we saw in Antioch. At some point in Paul’s travels prior to his letter to the Romans he must have realized that separation was pre-requisite for equality to be possible.
Paul discovered that some belief was essential for Gentiles in order to equally join the ‘people of God’. His vision of the ‘Risen Christ’ and his appointment by him as apostle to the Gentiles was the pivotal event in his life. Paul arrived at the belief that faith in Jesus Christ was the Gentile ‘Road to Salvation’. The key word is ‘equal’. Gentiles had to be equal to Jews. In light of Paul’s origin in Shamaite Judaism believing that Gentiles could never be equal he was always fighting this battle in his own heart if not in reality.
One of the major components of Judaism is the Law i.e. circumcision, observance of dietary laws and other Jewish rituals. Hence the new religion had to define itself by changing its differences. One of the ways of creating differences is via criticizing the founding religion. Paul had not yet created a new religion, but rather a ‘sect’ of Judaism. At this point in this sects history a comparison with the Qumran community can be made. We have all read of the hostility that permeated their writings towards the Jews in Jerusalem. Can this be compared to some of Paul’s hostility to the ‘Law’?
Despite later Christian theology Paul clearly states that the ‘Jews are God’s chosen people, and they will remain so, but now the Gentiles also have unlimited access to the God of Israel’ (Rom.11:1). This is a statement of separate and equal. Paul also says ‘Do we overthrow the law by this faith? Out of the question - we uphold the law’ (3:31) for the Jews. But there also are rules for Gentiles, they are not ‘law free’. ‘Trouble and distress will come to every human being who does evil – Jews first, but Greeks as well; glory and honor and peace will come to everyone who does good – Jews first but Greeks as well. There is not favoritism with God’ (Rom. 2:9-11). Different laws apply for Jews and for Greeks.
John Gager notes that Paul is not writing a treatise of Judaism, but writing to Gentiles about a form of ‘quasi-Judaism’ which he was developing. He is not writing about the law to Jews, but what Gentiles need to know. They knew something about Judaism and Paul needed to clarify what was required and what was not required. Perhaps as Samuel Sandmel has written ‘the angry tone of Galatians emerges not because Judaism . . . had infected a church of Paul’s own creation, but because Christian Judaizing had infected it . . the bitter controversies reflected in his Epistles are not with Jews but with Christian Judaizers’. 76 Thus Paul’s concern was not directed towards Jews and the Torah but intended to discourage Gentiles from feeling a need to become Jews. When Paul writes that ‘Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death (Rom. 8:2) or calls the law a curse (Gal. 3:10) he is telling Gentiles they need not in fact and ought not to seek to become Jews.
Lloyd Gaston said ‘Paul writes to Gentile-Christians, dealing with Gentile-Christian problems, foremost among which was the right for Gentiles qua Gentiles, without adopting the Torah of Israel, to full citizenship in the people of God. It is remarkable that in the endless discussions of Paul’s understanding of the law, few have asked what a first century Jew would have thought of the law as it relates to Gentiles. For Paul, Jesus the Christ was not the Messiah of Israel, but the Messiah of the Gentiles’. 77
E.P. Sanders concludes his breakthrough book ‘Paul and Palestinian Judaism’ 78 that Paul’s definition of the relationship between grace and works is as follows: ‘salvation is by grace but judgment is according to works; works are the condition of remaining ‘in’, but they do not earn salvation’ is part of Palestinian Judaism. ‘God saves by grace, but that within the framework’ of judgment by deed. 79 Sanders finally concludes that Paul opposes Judaism because it is not Christianity. 80
Salvatore Dali The Crucifixion
1 Bultmann, R., The Theology of the New Testament, (Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, 1957) Page 32. See also Wrede, W. The Messianic Secret, (J. Clarke, Cambridge, 1971) and Gunther Bornkamm, Jesus of Nazareth, (Harper and Row NY, 1960).
2 Quoted in Harvey Falk, Jesus The Pharisee, (Paulist Press, N.Y., 1985) pg. 4.
3 Falk, pg. 34.
4 Falk, pg. 34.
5 Falk, pg. 4.
6 Falk, pg. 15.
7 Lapide, Pinchas, The Resurrection of Jesus, (SPCK, London, 1983) pg. 137.
8 Gaston, L., Paul and the Torah (University of British Columbia Press, Vancouver, 1987)., Gager, John, G., Reinvented Paul, (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2000) and Stendahl, K., Paul Among Jews and Gentiles, (SCM, London, 1977).
9 Josephus, Ant. 20:34-41.
10 Jos. Ant. 20:75.
11 Vermes, Changing Faces, pg. 73-74.
12 Fredriksen, Paula, From Jesus To Christ, (Yale University Press, New Haven, 1988) pg. 107
13 Hengel, Martin, Acts and the History of Earliest Christianity, (SCM, London, 1979) pg. 83.
14 Gaston, Paul, pg. 28.
15 Gilat, Y.D., R. Eliezer Ben Hyrcanus, (Bar Ilan University Press, Ramat Gan, 1984) pg. 417.
16 Quoted in Gaston, Paul Torah, pg. 18-19.
17 Quoted in Gaston, Paul Torah, pg. 19.
18 Gaston, Paul Torah, pg.
19 Donaldson, Terence L., Paul And The Gentiles, (Fortress Press, Minneapolis, 1997) pg. 232.
20 Davis, W.D., Paul and Rabbinic Judaism ( ) pgs. 69-70 & 325.
21 Donaldson, pg. 41.
22 Montefiore, C.G., Judaism and St Paul, (London, 1914), also see Parkes, J.W., Jesus, Paul and the Jews, (London, 1936).
23 Watson, Francis, Paul, Judaism and the Gentiles, (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1980) pg. 54.
24 B. Pixner, Jesus and His Community, in Charlesworth, J.H., and Johns, L.L. eds. Hillel and Jesus, (Fortress Press, Minneapolis, 1997, pg. 207.
25 The fact that only four are mentioned is probably that Luke writing after the destruction of the Temple was unaware of the Noahide laws and had a tradition listing certain Gentile rules.
26 The difference between the Pharisaic rules according to Hillelite and Shammaite has already been discussed in the chapter ‘Hillel and Jesus’.
27 The term ‘strangling an animal’ is taken from the Aramaic translated into Greek and then English. It is a Talmudic code for not being cruel to animals.
28 Assuming that is a correct translation of the Greek. Other translations are ‘my judgment’ or my ‘decision’.
29 Hengel, Martin, and Schwermer, Paul, Antioch and Jerusalem (SCM, London,1997) pg. 106-109.
30 Chilton, B., Evans, C.E., eds. James the Just and Christian origins, (Brill, Leiden, 1999) article by W.F. Farmer, pg. 142-144.
31 Taylor, N., Paul, Antioch and Jerusalem, (JSNT Series #66 University, Sheffield) pg. 115.
32 Hengel and Schwemer, pg. 196-202.
33 Hengel, Martin, Acts and the History of Early Christianity, (SCM, London, 1979) pg. 113.
34 The Hellenists led by Stephen were forcibly expelled from Jerusalem, with Stephen according to Luke stoned (Acts 6:1-15, 7:1-60); see Hengel, Martin Between Jesus and Paul (SCM, London, 1983) chapter 1 and Hengel, Martin, Acts and the History of Earliest Christianity (SCM, London, 1979) chapter 6.
35 According to Borg 229 of the 341 issues between the House of Hillel and the house of Shammai were about table fellowship; Borg, Marcus, Conflict, Holiness & Politics in the Teaching of Jesus, (Edwin Mellen Press, Lewiston, Queenston, 1989) pg. 80.
36 Hengel and Schwemer, pg. 291.
37 Hengel, Martin, Between Jesus and Paul, (SCM, London, 1983) pg. 50.
38 Cullman, Oscar, Peter: Disciple, Apostle, Martyr. (SCM, London, 1962)
39 I say this knowing full well that most Christian and Jewish scholars do not agree and that many believe Paul to be one of the sources of Christian Anti-Judaism. Rosemary Ruether, the writer of ‘Faith and Fratricide’ wrote that Paul believed in ‘only one true covenant of salvation’. She consequently can say that Paul believed that ‘God never intended to save his own people through the Law’ (pg. 106). The author refutes this. A review of most of these positions can be found in Thielman, Frank, `From Flight to Solution' (E.J.Brill, Leiden, 1989). Two scholars who do see Paul as developing a dual salvation theology - one for Jews and one for Gentiles are J.G.Gager in `Origins of Anti-Semitism' (Oxford University Press, NY, 1983) and Lloyd Gaston in `Paul and the Torah' (University of British Columbia Press, Vancouver, 1987). The reason Paul is said by many to be Anti-Judaic is his use of hyperbole against the Jews (particularly in Galatians). But he is acting as a Gentile to Gentiles. Paul has a tendency to use hyperbole; he does the same against the other Apostles accusing then of being servants of Satan in 2 Cor. 11:5-15.
40 Stendahl, K., Qumran and Supercessionism – And the Road Not Taken, Conference Paper on ‘Biblical Theology and the Dead Sea Scrolls: A Jubilee Celebration’ Princeton Seminary Bulletin Vol. XIX, Nov 8, 1998, pg.3
41 See Falk’s translation of the Rabbi’s letter and his commentary pgs. 4-23.
42 Segal, Paul The Convert, pg. 254-255.
43 Watson, Paul Judaism, pg. 61.
44 Wilson, S.G., ed. Anti Judaism in Early Christianity, (W. Laurier University Press, 1986) article by Jack Lightstone, ‘Christian Anti-Judaism in its Judaic Mirror pgs 103-132.
45 Gager, pg. 67.
46 Wilson, Gaston, pg. 165.
47 Donaldson, Terence L., Paul And The Gentiles, (Fortress Press, Minneapolis, 1997) pg. 45-46.
48 Donaldson, pg. 284-285.
49 Donaldson, pg. 268.
50 Donaldson, pg. 294.
51 Donaldson, pg. 299.
52 Josephus, Antiquities, 8:46-47
53 Watson, Paul Judaism, pg. 40.
54 Donaldson, pg. 289.
55 Donaldson, pg. 40.
56 Watson, pg. 126.
57 Schoeps, Paul, pg. 176-178.
58 Watson, pg. 130.
59 Gaston, pg. 171 in Wilson.
60 See the numerous communities Paul visited in Acts chapters 13,14,17,18,19 and 28.
61 Gaston, pg. 172 in Wilson.
62 Grenholm, C., and Patte, Daniel, eds. Reading Israel In Romans, (Trinity Press, Harrisburg, Pa., 2000) article by Gunter Wasserberg, pg. 179.
63 Wasserberg, pg. 182.
64 Grenholm, C., Reading pg. 188.
65 Campbell, pg. 188, quoting Sanders (1983) pg. 193.
66 Campbell, pg. 189.
67 Campbell, pg. 193
68 Campbell, pg. 194
69 Quoted in Segal, Paul, pg. 264, Sanders E.P., pg. 178-179.
70 Gager, John, G., Reinventing Paul, (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2000) pgs. 5-6 & 21.
71 Davies, W.D., Paul and Rabbinic Judaism, (Harper, N.Y., 1948)
72 Schoeps quotes the Rabbis and Talmud references where this appears. Schoeps, H.J., Paul The Theology of the Apostle in the Light of Jewish Religious History, (Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1961) pg.172-175.
73 Schoeps, Paul, pg. 47.
74 Stendahl, Krister, Paul among Jews and Gentiles, (Fortress, Pennsylvania, 1976 ) pg. 7.
75 Gaston, L., Paul and the Torah, (University of British Columbia press, Vancouver, 1987) pg. 8.
76 Sandmel, Samuel, A Jewish Understanding of the New Testament, (Hebrew Union College Press, Cincinnati, 1956 ) quoted in Gager, pg. 35.
77 Gaston, Lloyd, Paul and the Torah, (University of British Columbia Press, Vancouver, 1987) quoted in Gager pg. 44.
78 Sanders, E.P. Paul and Palestinian Judaism, (SCM Press, London, 1977)
79 Sanders, Palestinian Judaism, pg. 543.
80 Quoted by Watson, pg. 67 from Sanders, Palestinian Judaism, pg. 552.
1 Rabbi Raymond Apple, A.M., F.R.D., is the rabbi of the Great Synagogue in Sydney, Australia. This talk was given at the launching of the new Guidelines for Christian Clergy and Teachers in their use of the New Testament with reference to the New Testament's presentation of Jews and Judaism
2 Professor Beare, radio broadcast on "Jesus and Paul", quoted by Lloyd Gaston in ‘Paul and Jerusalem, From Jesus to Paul. Studies in Honour of Francis Wright Beare (Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1984).