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“Neither Jew Nor Greek”

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Chapter Summary

Within the New Perspective on Paul, the universal nature of his view on emerging Christianity and his criticism of the ethnocentric identity markers of Judaism such as circumcision and food regulations, have been much emphasized. This chapter concentrates on the passage from 1 Thess 2 which helps us to appreciate the full scope of Paul's universalism, which took shape not only in response to Jewish ethnocentrism, but also in reply to the Greco-Roman protection of pagan ethnic, ancestral customs. It examines the text from First Thessalonians and explores the pagan views on Jewish ethnocentric misanthropy and the fuller ethnographical discourse in which it is subsumed. Finally, the author explores the double-sidedness of Paul's critique, which not only applies to Judaism but also to paganism, and points to a larger issue in Antiquity.

Keywords:Jewish ethnocentric misanthropy; Judaism; Paganism; Paul; Thessalonians



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