Neil Elliott inspires my sideways Holy Week reflection

Good in general, but this part especially interested me, in light of wooden Christian apologetic arguments: “One of them is that Elliott doubts the idea based on Galatians 3:13 that, before Damascus, Paul thought of Jesus as cursed under the law because he had been crucified. He points out that we have archeological evidence that Jews buried crucified Jews with honor. Why would Jews stigmatize a fellow Jew for what Roman law did to him? The real reason Paul persecuted followers of Christ was probably their immediate apocalyptic expectation which made them seem revolutionary and invited Roman reprisals against all Jews.”


Even though I have a busy week of Holy Week services and preparation for leading worship on Sunday, I had to spend some time in a medical waiting room where I read another article on the Paul-within-Judaism perspective from the anthology, Paul within Judaism.  This article was Neil Elliott’s “The Question of Politics: Paul as a Diaspora Jew under Roman Rule”.

He tries to undercut the essentialism that forms part of the basis for several perspectives on Paul.  Essentialism is the taking of Paul’s distinction between Jew and Greek as putting people into completely different ethnic, religious and national boxes.  His most important point is that for Paul “Greek” is clearly not an ethnic category.  For Paul it has cultural significance and does not refer only to people of Greek ethnicity.  So the parallel concept of “Jew” may be more fluid as well.

People in the 1st century world could be…

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About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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