Paul The Pagans' Apostle Paula Fredriksen

Publication date:
03 Oct 2017
Yale University Press
336 pages: 235 x 156 x 29mm

A groundbreaking new portrait of the apostle Paul, from one of today’s leading historians of antiquity

Often seen as the author of timeless Christian theology, Paul himself heatedly maintained that he lived and worked in history’s closing hours. His letters propel his readers into two ancient worlds, one Jewish, one pagan. The first was incandescent with apocalyptic hopes, expecting God through his messiah to fulfill his ancient promises of redemption to Israel. The second teemed with ancient actors, not only human but also divine: angry superhuman forces, jealous demons, and hostile cosmic gods. Both worlds are Paul’s, and his convictions about the first shaped his actions in the second.
Only by situating Paul within this charged social context of gods and humans, pagans and Jews, cities, synagogues, and competing Christ-following assemblies can we begin to understand his mission and message. This original and provocative book offers a dramatically new perspective on one of history’s seminal figures.

Paula Fredriksen, Aurelio Professor of Scripture emerita at Boston University, is a member of the Humanities Faculty of the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, she has published widely on the social and intellectual history of ancient Christianity, and on pagan-Jewish-Christian relations in the Roman Empire. Her books include From Jesus to Christ; Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews; Augustine and the Jews: A Christian Defense of Jews and Judaism; and Sin: The Early History of an Idea.

“Brilliant, elegant, and important––this volume reshapes an entire field of study.  Here stands the finest history of the Apostle Paul to appear in generations.”—J. Albert Harrill, author of Paul the Apostle: His Life and Legacy in Their Roman Context

Praise for Augustine and the Jews:
“A masterpiece of passionately argued Augustinian scholarship.”—Peter Brown, New York Review of Books

“This book is one of those rare works that is both accessible to the general educated reader and of value to experts.”—Paul R. Kolbet, Religious Studies Review

“Fredriksen’s work is a marvelous product of interdisciplinary scholarship. . . . Even in the massive field of Augustinian studies, this work stands out.”—Robert McEachnie, Bryn Mawr Classical Review