Pamela Eisenbaum, author of Invitation to Romans, takes a provocative new look at the life and beliefs of St. Paul. The traditional view of Paul is that of the archetypal convert, who, after a life-changing experience, devoted his life to spreading the word of the new religion called Christianity. Eisenbaum, an expert on the history of early Christianity, argues that Paul actually saw Jesus as a reformer of Judaism who would fulfill God's universal plan for humanity. Paul Was Not a Christian reverses the image students have of Paul as a model for Christian conversion, and greatly increases their understanding of both Judaism and Christianity.
"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Paul is not the true founder of Christianity as is often claimed, nor does Paul understand Jesus Christ as having superseded the Torah and thereby replacing Judaism with Christianity.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.