Saturday, February 16, 2019

Another review of Fredriksen, When Christians Were Jews

BRYN MAYR CLASSICAL REVIEW: Paula Fredriksen, When Christians Were Jews: The First Generation. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2018. Pp. viii, 261. ISBN 9780300190519. $27.50. Reviewed by Andrew S. Jacobs, Scripps College (
Paula Fredriksen’s new book spins a lucid and straightforward narrative of "the first generation" of an eschatological Jewish movement that would become, despite itself, Christianity. Fredriksen centers her narrative on the city of Jerusalem, the site of the Temple of the God of Israel, where Jesus’s mission culminated, his life ended, and the movement in his name developed numerically and theologically after his death. Transformed in and by the city of David, Jesus’s followers went forth to gather in all the people of Israel; encountering god-fearing pagans in the Jewish synagogues, they began to expand their target zone while waiting for the imminent return of Jesus and the end of the world. Paul, at first alarmed by the sociologically disruptive separation of pagans from their gods, attempted to discipline (or "persecute") these Jewish Jesus-followers; then, altered by his own experience of Jesus, he became the most influential theorist of this Jewish eschatological movement.

For earlier reviews of the book, see here.

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