"The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire."
Ministry of John the Baptist
3 In those days John the Baptist appeared in the desert of Judea announcing, 2 “ Change your hearts and lives! Here comes the kingdom of heaven! ” 3 He was the one of whom Isaiah the prophet spoke when he said:
4 John wore clothes made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey.
5 People from Jerusalem, throughout Judea, and all around the Jordan River came to him. 6 As they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River. 7 Many Pharisees and Sadducees came to be baptized by John. He said to them, “ You children of snakes! Who warned you to escape from the angry judgment that is coming soon? 8 Produce fruit that shows you have changed your hearts and lives. 9 And don’t even think about saying to yourselves, Abraham is our father. I tell you that God is able to raise up Abraham’s children from these stones. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be chopped down and tossed into the fire. 11 I baptize with water those of you who have changed your hearts and lives. The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 The shovel he uses to sift the wheat from the husks is in his hands. He will clean out his threshing area and bring the wheat into his barn. But he will burn the husks with a fire that can’t be put out. ”
"Paul Was Not a Christian" is a groundbreaking work that systematically overturns both scholarly and popular conceptions held by Christians and Jews, liberals and conservatives alike. As Eisenbaum reveals, Paul is not the true founder of Christianity as is often claimed, nor does Paul understand Jesus Christ as having superseded the Torah and thereby replacing Judaism with Christianity. Although Paul unabashedly proclaimed his faith in Jesus, such proclamations were not inherently "Christian," since no such religious category existed in Paul's time. Jesus, rather, represented the fulfillment of God's promise to Abraham that he would be a blessing to the nations.
Eisenbaum's work reverses the image we have of Paul as a model for Christian conversion and greatly increases our understanding of both Judaism and Christianity. Provocatively argued and far-reaching in its implications, "Paul Was Not a Christian" is a much-needed corrective to the traditional portrait of Paul and his divisive legacy.