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New Haven, CN: Yale University Press, 2018.
Available at YUP.
Book - Book - SBL - Wipf - Stock
I’ve been wanting to read this book ever since I missed out on picking up this book at SBL 2018 because of a certain unnamed Wipf & Stock editor, who used his privilege on being already within the book exhibits before opening, to go and purchase the last copy on the last day seconds before I got to it! I’ve forgiven him and we’ve been reconciled, but the loss still pains me. Nonetheless, the wait was worth it.
Paula Fredriksen (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) has written an eminently readable, informative, and engaging book about the early decades of the Christian movement. There’s many good points made, good descriptions of Josephus, Fredriksen points out that Jesus and his disciples were probably not carrying swords but sacrificial knives used to slaughter lambs, and lestes means “brigand” not “thief” (amen). It also rehearses many of Fredriksen’s arguments from her previous works, like Jesus did not claim to be the Messiah, but the crowds thought he was. Paul was an inside Judaism type of Apostle to the Gentiles. (In fact, the latter half of the book is one of the best summaries of the Paul within Judaism school you can find). In sum, Fredriksen describes the volume like this: “This book has tried to peer behind Acts, to understand what would have preceded the tales that shape Acts’ smooth narrative. … I have attempted to reimagine the stages by which the early Jesus-community would have first come together again, after the crucifixion. To understand how and why, despite the difficulties, these first followers of Jesus would have resettled in Jerusalem. To reconstruct the steps by which they became in some sense the center of a movement that was already fracturing bitterly within the two decades of its...
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