How Later Contexts Affect Pauline Content, Or: Retrospect Is The Mother Of Anachronism (by Paula Fredriksen)

All historians struggle with the problem of retrospect. As an historian of Christian origins, however, I am particularly aware of the long shadows cast backward by events and by patterns of thought or of behavior that fell well after the lifetimes of Jesus, the original apostles, and Paul, and that persistently obscure our view of the movement in its earliest, most Jewish, most radioactively apocalyptic stage. In the present essay, I would like to consider five of these historiographically well-established, historically baneful occasions for retrospection – thus, retrojection – that affect (and to my mind compromise) our interpretations of the mission and message of the apostle Paul. They are founded upon events and/or circumstances that either post-date his lifetime or, if contemporary, are made to carry later theological freight…

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  1. marvin

    20pages I´ve read. And commenting about the references of the spartans related to the judeans, I have many questions. In the Book of Maccabees, just in time for Janukah, I remember reading that the son of Matitiahu sent letters of friendship to the spartans claiming they were also sons of Abraham. How come? was it a myth or were they in some way sons of Eisav?
    Happy Chanukkah!

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Probably a myth (in our terms), but remember a myth today and then is not the same 🙂