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Paul, Judaism, and the Gentiles: Beyond the New Perspective
Francis Watson

9780802840202 Retail Price: $32.00
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Format: Paperback, 400pp.
ISBN: 9780802840202
Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Pub. Date: Rev Exp edition October 15, 2007

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From The Publisher:

In this new, completely rewritten edition of his major 1986 book, Francis Watson extends, updates, and clarifies his response to E. P. Sanders’s view of Paul, in order to point the way beyond the polarization of "new" and "old" perspectives on the apostle.

The Paul who comes to light in these pages is agent and thinker, apostle and theologian. He is a highly contextual figure, yet his account of Christian identity continues to shape the church's life to this day. He is the founder of mainly Gentile, Christ-believing communities, separated from the synagogue; and yet he can see this distinctive existence as an authentic response to Jewish scripture and tradition, as fulfilled in Christ. He is a many-sided figure, transcending all our attempts to categorize him or to co-opt him for our own favored causes.


“Like a fine wine, Francis Watson’s insightful early work on Paul has aged well, retaining its fundamental character while acquiring new depths of subtlety, complexity, and maturity. Watson moves beyond the tired dogmas of ‘old’ and ‘new’ perspectives alike, blending historical, sociological, and theological approaches to offer a richly textured account of Paul and his gospel that significantly advances the discussion even as it provokes important new questions for future research.”
—J. Ross Wagner, Princeton Theological Seminary

“Here we return to Watson’s brilliant suggestion in 1986 that Paul’s justification texts and arguments can only be comprehended as they are located in their underlying missiological and sociological dynamics — in particular, in the radical sectarian break made by the apostle’s churches away from orthopractic Judaism. Updated, and with links to his other important works explained, the result is vintage Watson — a series of creative if not provocative theses, argued combatively, with enviable clarity, and with impressive learning.”
—Douglas Campbell, Duke Divinity School


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About the Author

Francis Watson holds the Kirby Laing Chair of New Testament Exegesis at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. His several other books include Paul and the Hermeneutics of Faith and Text and Truth: Redefining Biblical Theology.

Table of Contents

Preface to the Revised Edition
Beyond the New Perspective: Introduction to the Revised Edition of Paul, Judaism, and the Gentiles
  1. Retrospective
  2. Divergences

  1. Paul, the Reformation, and Modern Scholarship
    1. The Lutheran Reading of Paul
    2. Opposition to the Lutheran Reading
    3. A Sociological Approach


  2. The Origins of Paul’s View of the Law
    1. The Evidence of Acts
           (i) The Cornelius Episode
           (ii) The Origins of the Antiochene Church
    2. The Evidence of Paul’s Letters
           (i) A Mission to the Diaspora
           (ii) Gentile Circumcision and the Diaspora Synagogue
           (iii) Jewish Rejection and Gentile Mission
           (iv) Freedom and Alienation
    3. Two Sociological Models
           (i) Qumran
           (ii) The Johannine Community
           (iii) Paul

  3. The Galatian Crisis
    1. The Origins of the Crisis
           (i) Mission to Gentiles: Early Debates
           (ii) From the Jerusalem Council to the Antioch Incident
           (iii) The Founding of the Galatian Churches
           (iv) Agitation in Galatia
    2. Paul’s Response to the Crisis
           (i) Denunciation
           (ii) Antithesis
           (iii) Reinterpretation

  4. Philippi, Corinth and the Jewish Christian Mission
    1. Philippians 3: A Postscript to Galatians
           (i) Place and Time of Writing
           (ii) Denunciation
           (iii) Antithesis
    2. “Judaizers” at Corinth?
           (i) Jewish Christianity in 1 Corinthians?
           (ii) Paul’s Opponents in 2 Corinthians 10—13
           (iii) 2 Corinthians 3 as Evidence for “Judaizers”?


  5. Rome in Pauline Perspective
    1. The Question of the Purpose of Romans
    2. The Origins of Roman Christianity
    3. A Divided Community (Romans 14:1–15:13)
    4. Gentiles and Jews in Rome (Romans 16)
    5. The Evidence of Romans 1:1-17 and 15:14-33

  6. The Social Function of Romans 2
    1. A Sociological Approach to Romans 1–11
    2. Romans 2: Denunciation
           (i) Critique of the Jewish View of the Covenant
           (ii) The Obedient Gentiles

  7. Pauline Antithesis and Its Social Correlate (Romans 3)
    1. The Textuality of the Law (Romans 3:1-20)
    2. Jews, Gentiles, and Faith (Romans 3:21-31)
    3. Secondary Comparisons (Romans 3:27-31)

  8. The Law and Christian Identity (Romans 4–8)
    1. Reinterpreting Abraham (Romans 4)
           (i) Grace and Works
           (ii) A Symbol of Unity
    2. Christ, Hope, and Reconciliation (Romans 5)
           (i) The Social Significance of Hope
           (ii) The Universal Christ
    3. Grace, Law, and Sin (Romans 6–7)
           (i) Two Communal Identities
           (ii) The Genesis of Sin
    4. Law and Spirit (Romans 7–8)
           (i) “To those under law as one under law . . .”
           (ii) A Conflict of Jurisdictions
           (iii) Rehabilitating the Law

  9. Election: Reimagining the Scriptural Witness (Romans 9–11)
    1. Orientation (Romans 9:1-5)
    2. The Pattern of Election (Romans 9:6-29)
    3. The Dynamics of Election (Romans 9:30–10:21)
    4. The Scriptural Hope (Romans 11:1-36)

  10. Conclusion
  11. Appendix: Christ, Law, and Freedom: A Plea for the Sensus Literalis

    1. The Prejudice against Particularity
    2. The Elements of Christian Grammar


    Index of Authors

    Index of Subjects

    Index of Scripture and Other Ancient Texts

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