Paul was not a Christian

This is a fascinating book I’m reading. For years I’ve wanted to reconcile with Paul regarding misogyny-not only am I seeing a new side of Paul (or the real Paul trying to stand up now) I’m realizing he’s been treated as a Christian when he was a Jew. I’ve personally always known he was a Jew bc I knew Christianity didn’t exist, but I’ve never viewed Paul through the lens of his Jewish identity. I didn’t know to do that.

Our professor, Dr. Smith, assigned this book with rising antisemitism that partly comes from a bad theology of Paul. We have done a lot of damage with our theology of Paul. This author is a Jewish woman and scholar who teaches at a Christian university.

She’s inviting Jews and Christians alike to appreciate Paul’s religious pluralism theology. He was a Jew in a Greco-Roman world trying to make peace.

In my reconciliation with Paul, I’m finding myself more and more at odds with Luke. Whoever the author is of Luke also wrote Acts. The way history is described in Acts doesn’t match Paul’s undisputed letters. And the leverage Complementarian churches use to assert male authority over women comes from disputed letters. And there are other disputed letters portraying Paul as for women, but those got cut from the canon. No one has grasped who Paul truly is, but I’m feeling him rising and trying to reveal who he is.

As I said, my conflict with Luke is not getting better in Acts. I highly recommend Christians read this book. It’s important to understand what Acts and the Pastoral Epistles have done in our perception of Judaism -and the “distinctively Western Christian lens” that made conversion central to our identity. (Now I’m about to read a section on Augustine- pray for me).

I know this is a lot. But it’s important to face this. Abuse against women and hate crimes against Jews has grown exponentially the last few years.

Our Christian philosophy has not always produced good things. It has sometimes helped really bad things happen. As my professor said – if we want to be a better theologian – then we need to become better historians. It affects how we treat people.

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