Baker Academic

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Interview with Paula Fredriksen (Part II)

Part I of my interview is here. I started by asking Prof. Fredriksen about her book Augustine and the Jews.

ACLD: Augustine (like many others) seems to have continued the line of Christian supersessionism that he inherited. Do you think that this line was a misappropriation of Jesus’ apocalyptic urgency? I.e. was Jesus’ message of good news for insiders/bad news for outsiders the root of the problem?

PF: Gentile Christian supersessionism is a product of internal Christian arguments in the late first/early second century. Paul was not a Christian. He was an apocalyptic Jewish visionary who was convinced that he was right about who the messiah was, and about what time it was on God's clock: mostly he argues with or against other Christ-following Jews. Once the ethnic context of the readership of hellenistic Jewish texts (LXX, and the texts that will later make up the NT) shifts, their intra-Jewish arguments become anti-Jewish arguments. Jesus' apocalyptic urgency — again, about what time it was on God's clock — is not a first-order cause of any of this.

1 comment:

  1. Isn't there a lot of biblical evidence that Paul was so highly hellenized, as a Roman citizen in one account, and constant advocate of "Greeks" by all accounts, that most Jews would not have considered him a Jew at all? Which is why he is arrested, and presumably executed.

    Indeed, if Paul tried to appear Jewish at all,isn't there the possiblity that it was the same kind of effort as Augustine defending Jusaism? In part as really, a defense of Christianity; as consistently true to OT/"Jewish" traditions? Here Augustine and Paul are not really defending Judaism; but are ironically defending Christianity.