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The Apostle Paul in the Jewish Imagination is a pioneering multidisciplinary examination of Jewish perspectives on Paul of Tarsus. Here, the views of individual Jewish theologians, religious leaders, and biblical scholars of the last 150 years, together with artistic, literary, philosophical, and psychoanalytical approaches, are set alongside popular cultural attitudes. Few Jews, historically speaking, have engaged with the first-century Apostle to the Gentiles. The modern period has witnessed a burgeoning interest in this topic, however, with treatments reflecting profound concerns about the nature of Jewish authenticity and the developing intercourse between Jews and Christians. In exploring these issues, Jewish commentators have presented Paul in a number of apparently contradictory ways. The Apostle Paul in the Jewish Imagination represents an important contribution to Jewish cultural studies and to the study of Jewish-Christian relations.
With this book, Owen Power offers the first full-length intellectual history of the thinker Hugh Schonfield (1901-1988). Power contextualises Schonfield and his work in the spheres of Jewish ideology and Messianic Jewish politics as a means to explain the complicated nature of Messianic Jewish identity. There are many problems in making sense of the varied claims made about the Jewishness of Jewish Believers in Jesus--as there is a striking lack of agreement as to their Jewish status among halakhic authorities--and there is no real consensus among Messianic Jews themselves in answering the question, "Who is a (Messianic) Jew?" On the other hand, the attitude of many Jewish commentators regarding Messianic Jews is that they are traitors and apostates pretending to be Jews--Christian missionaries hell-bent on enticing Jews from their communities to the welcoming embrace of the Church. Normative Jewish opinion tends to treat Jewish Believers in Jesus as a monolithic group and thus fails to recognise the wide range of groups and individuals who claim to be Messianic Jews, even if there is among them little consensus as to what such a label means. Schonfield's case both reinforces such convictions and problematizes them.
Paul of Tarsus is widely regarded as the founder of organized Christianity. Edward Stourton's fascinating exploration of this historical figure and the land in which he lived involves both a first-hand account of the author's journey following in St. Paul's footsteps as well as reflections on Paul's life and his religious and political legacy. Difficult as it is to get behind the interpretations and embellishments to find the real man, it is clear that Paul's overwhelming influence lives on. He is responsible for some of the biggest controversies within Christianity, as well as between Christianity and Islam, and Christianity and Judaism. Stourton's detailed research and lively, enthusiastic writing style provide insights into the experiences, education, and background which helped to shape this most pragmatic and inspirational of biblical figures. The author develops St. Paul from a shadowy figure in the New Testament to a truly flesh and blood personality, and shows him to be as influential in shaping the cultural and political climate of our times as Jesus himself.

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